Thales sets school challenge

Posted on 7 May 2010 by The Manufacturer

Sixth form students have invented a device that could reduce the incidence of Afghan troop casualties caused by improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

Set the task by a team of engineers from Thales UK, the students from Hazelwick School in Crawley, West Sussex, were charged with constructing a remote-controlled robot platform that can carry sensor equipment to detect roadside bombs.

The device was one of several innovations devised by schools and presented to companies at the University of Brighton for the annual Royal Academy of Engineering’s ‘Engineering Education Scheme’ which supports Year 12 students.

Tabraze Malik, hardware engineer with Thales UK, said he was impressed with the students’ work: “It was better than I had expected. It needs more refining – it can only detect metal objects the size of bricks and does not pick up items the size of 50p coins. There are techniques to suppress interference on detectors, but the students’ have come up with one we have not investigated before and this could be used in future activities.”

“It is vitally important we encourage and support our engineers and scientists of the future,” said Professor Andrew Lloyd, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering, University of Brighton. “These projects demonstrate the global importance of engineering and the achievements made by the students are a testament to the creative and innovative capacity of young people to solve challenging engineering problems for societal benefit.”

The four students, aged 16 and 17, are Peter O’Sullivan, Vipulan Sivarajah, Imran Ahmed and Husman Mahmood.