The Design and Technologies Teachers Association of Australia competition asked students to choose one United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of either
- Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
- Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
- Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.
We congratulate Annika Schmitz of Year 8, Bruno Decker-Stewart of Year 9 and Sofia Ninkovic of Year 10 for being chosen as finalists. Their entries required deep imagination, as well as careful analysis and successful communication.
Meadow, the marine agriculture robot
Sofia, who chose Goal 14, Life below water, presented her solution to ocean acidification: Meadow, the marine agriculture robot.
“My proposition is that we add a seagrass meadow in close proximity to oyster farms and reefs and Meadow will wrap the oysters in the seagrass,” said Sofia.
“Underwater vegetation, such as seagrass meadows and kelp forests, photosynthesize much like their land-based relatives. In the process, aquatic vegetation removes some of the excess carbon dioxide in the surrounding seawater that causes ocean acidification.
“I chose oysters for the reason that the US oyster industry is worth $249M per year with both product and jobs at risk, and is currently shrinking due to the oyster death rates rising. For shellfish such as oysters, lower pH means less carbonate which they rely on to build their essential outer shells. As the acidity increases the shells become thinner, their growth slows down and their death rates rise,” Sofia said.
“In order for the robot to physically wrap the oysters in seagrass it will use teleoperation, which is technology used for NASA’s space robot in order to move their hands.”
Cleaning up oil spills
Annika said she has always been passionate about pollution and how it affects our planet.
“For me, this competition was really proving to myself (and hopefully others) that we can make a difference,” she said.
“My idea is a device that is supposed to help clean up oil spills in the ocean. Normally, cleaning oil spills up is a slow and tedious process.
“My device, the Water Lungs, would be more efficient. It would be placed in the area of the oil spill and suck in both water and the oil. The liquids would get sucked through small tubes inside the device in which magnetic nanoparticles would get pumped through making the oil loosely magnetic.
“This would allow the device to separate the water to the oil. The oil would then get stored in a container that, when full, would alert a vessel which would come and remove the container.”
Using traffic to create energy
Bruno said he chose to compete in the design competition because he thought of an idea that no one else had thought of.
“My idea is a sleek wind turbine that sits between two opposite lanes of moving cars. In conclusion this design is cheap and effective in lots of different environments so you should vote for me.”
You can watch the video of all selected finalists below. Annika’s begins at 3.56 minutes, Sofia’s at 6.48 minutes, and Bruno’s at 13.16 minutes. It’s up to the public to vote for their favourite here.
Please cast your vote here.