Balram reflects.............

Pre-Camp Reflections:

1. I am interested in this project as it covers the topic of renewable energy, which, in my opinion, is essential to our survival in the future. The potential of renewable energy is theoretically limitless, because it is derived mostly from nature itself. I am very interested in harnessing the power of nature to make  abetter world, and a brighter future, for all inhabiters of Earth.
2. I would like to learn about the various methods of generating energy from rainwater, and which one is the most efficient.
3. I have always wondered how power can be generated from rainwater in a manner besides using turbines.
4. I would really like to have designed and built an efficient, commercially-viable rainwater-based power generator by the ned of this project.

Day 1 reflections:

Key Learning Points (Plenary Sessions):

Plenary Session 1:

·      Earthquakes are caused by subduction, during which a denser, sinking tectonic plate “drags” the tectonic layers above it along as it sinks. When the tectonic plate that is being dragged “breaks”, the force causes an earthquake, and, in certain cases, a tsunami.
·      Layers of deposits along the coast, as well as sediments found along the seabed, are evidence of previous earthquakes and tsunamis.
·      During earthquakes, islands move upwards, out of the sea. This process is known as uplift.
·      Radiometric and carbon dating are used to determine the ages of coral and certain deposits.

Plenary Session 2:

·      Animation comes in three basic forms: stop-motion, 2D and 3D.
·      Stop-motion animation involves shooting individual stills and “stitching” them together.
·      2D animation (also known as traditional animation) is still done by hand, but with the aid of computers for coloring, etc. It is very tedious and time-consuming.
·      3D animation is done almost entirely by computer, and can simulate different dynamic, such as that of water, fire, etc.
·      Mathematics is used to create special effects by calculating dynamics, ambient light, etc. (calculus) and to program animation software.
·      The IT industry is a huge industry, of which a portion focuses on animation.
·      Modern animation is essentially at the crossroads of IT and creativity.

Plenary Session 3:

·      Nanotechnology is the process of making things smaller in size, more precise and more detailed.
·      Different colors and even invisibility cloaks can be created through nanotechnology, where light is reflected and/or bent in different manners.
·      Nanotechnology will enable the storage of a lot of data in a tiny device (this is known as quantum computing).
·      Nano-materials can be used for armor and camouflage, as well as in microsurgery.
·      Nanotechnology is said to be able to kill bacteria, as well as cause cancer, amongst other things.

New Questions:

·      How can an element of creativity be used to develop scientific concepts and innovations?
·      We have heard about how science and technology can solve some of humanity’s problems on a small scale. How can science be used for the good of humanity in a large-scale manner, which affects many people across the planet?
·      We have heard abut the latest breakthroughs in technology. How can tried-and-tested techniques and technology be modified, and subsequently used to solve some of humanity’s problems in a timely, viable and cost-effective manner?

SST-NTU Flagship Program 
Day Three Reflections

1.     My knowledge of the subject (sustainable energy) has increased immensely, and I now understand that there is more to sustainable energy than what meets the eye. By “throwing ourselves” straight into this project, I think we (the team) have forced ourselves to learn more about renewable energy, and about being environmentally friendly in general. While the project I was working on (Project 10C) concerned the generation of power from rainwater, the other projects (Projects 10A and 10B) demonstrated concepts such as the process of generating electricity from the operation of a bicycle – a plan that was to be implemented in rural parts of Cambodia, where there is a constant shortage of electricity – and an automated sorting process for certain common recyclables.
2.     I now understand that renewable energy can be generated in a plethora of ways, even from the same source. Formerly, I used to think that there could only be one, or an absolute maximum of two, ways of harnessing the potential of any given source to generate energy. How many possibilities could there be, I thought. I have now answered myself; there are endless possibilities in the field of sustainable energy.
3.     The general principles of operation for different simple mechanisms, which we have learnt in school, can be applied in this project, along with the scientific knowledge we have gained from the specialized curriculum at SST. Also, doing this project helped increase my understanding of basic mechanisms and the different materials that are utilized in them.
4.     I can apply the knowledge I have gained from doing this project in my academics, as well as in future competitions and even in personal projects. I have always had an interest in designing and building machines (aircraft and model aircraft, in particular), and I feel that the experience I have gained from doing this project will enable me to build more useful machines in my spare time, in addition to explaining the concepts behind them.
5.     From my experience doing the project, I have come up with a few questions that I would like to know the answers to. During the project, we (the team) explored the possibilities related to power generation from rainwater, in a purely mechanical system, and at a relatively small scale. I would like to know how electronics can be integrated into the solutions of similar problems, and how these small-scale solutions can be modified and implemented on a larger scale. Also, most large-scale solutions are relatively expensive. Can these solutions’ cost be reduced so that everyone who requires the solution can access it? Finally, I would like to know where and how purely mechanical systems can be used in a world that is becoming more connected and digitized over time?

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