Westlake Students Take State Fair Honors

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Congratulations to THEODORE POULOS (2013 senior) & PETER SLATER (junior) of the Westlake High School STEM, Technology & Engineering Education Department for winning a Best of Show and the coveted Zupancic Award at the 2013 Ohio State Fair Technology & Engineering Showcase held at the beginning of August in the Lausche conference center.

POULOS & SLATER teamed up to design and build a project they called the “Auto-Balance”, a Segway inspired self-balancing scooter.  They took the first place “Best of Show” award in the Energy/Power/Transportation Technology category, as well as the Zupancic Award, acknowledged as the single best project of the entire showcase competition.  They also won the “People’s Choice Award” for the most interesting, creative, and unique project there.

In a combined effort, POULOS worked on the research, design, testing, construction, and assembly of the project.  SLATER was responsible for the electronics, circuitry, and programming of the device.  In the operation of the Auto-Balance, they explained that the Arduino microprocessor acts as a controller enabling the accelerometer and gyroscope to be utilized in sync.  It also calculates the angle of the stick, commands the motors (two 19 volt cordless drills) to take corrective action, and keeps the rider upright during movement and travel.  It took them the better part of the spring term of the school year and up to and including the beginning of Summer to finally perfect the operation of the Auto-Balance.

In other related news, TechMate CHRISTOPHER STONE spent the entire time at the Ohio State Fair working as a selected Junior Fair Board member participating in multiple events and assisting with hands-on activities every day throughout the 12 days of the fair.


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