Wayne students are receiving local recognition for their science projects. A team of Wayne High School students took home a first place trophy at the 2018 Tech Prep Showcase, organized by the Miami Valley Tech Prep Consortium.
Three students from the team, Michelle Wong, Ian Fowler, and Andrew Hatton, provided some background on their winning project in a roundtable discussion. This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
This isn't the only team from Wayne to participate in the showcase. The JROTC team took home a first place trophy for their project titled "People Project: Study of the Effects of Personality on Leadership Style," and another team came in as runners-up for their engineering project titled "The Arm Bar." You can view a full list of participants and winners here.
Describe your group’s project.
Wong: Our project was to create a dynamic lock. For our project, we had an Android app on our phones which created a code based on the current time and put it through an algorithm while the lock part of the system simultaneously did the same thing. When you use the app you can get the code off of it and put it into the lock, it’ll match them up and see if they’re correct, and then unlock the door if it is.
How was the process of making the code?
Fowler: We used Android Studios to code the app. The lock used Raspberry Pi (a credit-card-sized computer) that ran Python, another coding language.
What were some of the difficulties you experienced while making this project?
Wong: A lot of our time was actually put towards troubleshooting. We had a lot of issues getting the coding to work properly that we had to work through. We also had issues with our hardware not fitting properly or having to be redesigned. It wasn’t so much problems we had to solve just in the brainstorming phase, but more so problems we had to trouble shoot after we had our idea formulated.
Did you add any security protections into the lock?
Fowler: The code that the phone generates for you in the lock is only valid for 60 seconds. You can enter it as many times as you want up to 60 seconds, and then the code is going to regenerate a new code. It will not unlock the door if you use that old code.
Hatton: The purpose of our system was so that if someone figured out the code to get into your house or your safe, even if they learn your code, it won’t matter because that code will change in 60 seconds and it won’t be good anymore. That way, people won’t be able to figure out the code to your house or see how the numbers are worn off on your pad. It’s more secure than the traditional electronic lock.
What did you think of the tech prep showcase?
Hatton: I really enjoyed seeing all the other group’s projects, all the different ideas they came up with, and how there is a big spread of different categories of projects. It wasn’t all just aerospace-related or electronic-related, there were many different types of projects that were there.
Which colleges are you planning to attend and what are you interested in studying?
Hatton: I’m probably going to go to Ohio University and study mechanical engineering, so this will be useful experience for that. I want to work in the aerospace industry with airplanes and spacecraft.
Wong: I’m looking to go to MIT. I’m mainly focusing on electrical and mechanical engineering at the moment, so this has definitely been a very useful, very helpful experience for me in narrowing down what I want to do with my future.
Fowler: For my first few years I’m looking at going to Sinclair, and then for my last few years I’m going to Ohio University. I’m going to study mechanical engineering and I’m interested in going into the aerospace field as well.