Students Explore Safety, Environment Uses in 'Drones for Good' Contest
- By Dian Schaffhauser
When two teens were dramatically rescued last year from a rip tide off the eastern shore of Australia by a drone dropping a flotation device into the water, it made apparent what drone pilots have been saying for a long time: Drones have multiple practical uses. A contest recently sponsored by PCS EdVentures encouraged young people to produce videos to share how they would use drones for doing good in the world. The company produces STEM and STEAM sets for educational use, including Discover Drones, a classroom set of drones, controllers, first-person view goggles and Droneology, an online class to help students learn to fly drones safely.
The top prize, won by Ammel M, a student at Dearborn Center for Math, Science and Technology in Michigan, promoted the use of rescue drones, like the one used by lifeguards at that Australia rescue. "Drones can be used to navigate where people are and even carry emergency kits to the person in need," explained Ammel in her video . The minute-long production won Ammel a Kodak Riot Sport Drone for her own use and a Discover Drones Classroom Pack for her school.
Her fellow student, Madeline G., focused on how drones could be used to improve maintenance and safety on offshore oil rigs. "Combining the mobility and stamina of a drone with a person's observational skills would allow for the maximum number of faults to be found and for lives and the environment to be saved," she said in her video, which won second place.
Other winners included:
Pablo Villa, a student at New Canaan High School (CT), who took first place for his interviews with a first responder, farmer and realtor, who spoke about how they've applied drones in their jobs;
- Nick P, a student at the Kentucky School for the Deaf, advised the use of drones for school safety, earning him third place. As he noted, when intruders come on campus, instead of sending in humans to hunt them down, drones with first-person views could be sent instead; and
- Joseph Mcguire, a student at Dayton High School, Kentucky, won fourth place with his entry on how drones can be used in school maintenance, to inspect buildings and identify heat leakage with the use of a thermal camera attachment.
The company said it would be announcing its next competition soon.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.