By Lori Lyn Lirio
THE Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Aeronautics team, composed of Marianas High School students, made it to the recent finals of the Real World Design Challenge in national and international category in Washington D.C.
The team, composed of Mimi Sakano, Ian Cataluna, Gaeun Yang, Chenoa Bunts-Anderson and Daniel Villarmero, competed with schools from 13 States and five teams from China and, together with the students from Connecticut, won and became finalists in the national competition.
This enables the CNMI Aeronautics team to compete in the international category against two groups from China.
The MHS students represented the CNMI and the Pacific Region after they won in the state and regional competition, beating Guam and the American Samoa in January.
The April 21 Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual competition that challenged high school students to work on real-world engineering problems. Each year, they asked students to address a problem that confronts the nation.
According to Bunts-Anderson and Villamero, the project they presented was a design of an agricultural drone that would be able to efficiently detect pests.
“We were asked to solve a problem: we don’t have enough food. The rate of population is going up. In 50 years, a lot of people will be starving. We wanted to build agricultural drone that will be able to efficiently detect pests and kill those pests through spraying and therefore producing more food and sustaining our population growth,” Bunts-Anderson said in an earlier interview.
Villarmero said they started planning and building on their project since August 2017. He added that they spent a lot of time brainstorming, reaching out to their mentors and experts before designing an aircraft.
“We put a lot of time on this project. We meet daily to write on this project – 80-page notebook,” Bunts-Anderson said.
They did a 3D CAD model, a computerized 3D version of the actual aircraft and put it to simulation.
“We have to do a lot of calculations. We have to prove everything that we write, that’s why we do all those simulations. We do all those calculations to show that if it is built it can actually do that job,” Villarmero said.