This year the program was just two weeks long, but with working days starting at 9:30am and officially ending at 17:30, with students who often kept working during evening and night. Students who lived in the same place formed teams together, while the mentors were providing support remotely.
In Ferrara, there were 14 total HoPE students (most of them belonging to high school, but also some university students) who decided to take part in the EDW, together with other boys and girls from the collaborating school in Barcelona and other American students.
The students decided to work on a single common project, with the aim of bringing a piece of our beautiful but small city to this international program: the final decision was therefore to create a model of the Estense Castle (which is located in the historic center of Ferrara) which spectators could play with, changing the color of the LED in the moat, actuating the drawbridges and controlling the fountains, all through position sensors, located on the outer sides of the walls.
Understood that to achieve such an ambitious goal in a period of time of only two weeks it would have been necessary for everyone to take on a specific task, our students splitted into sub-teams:
- A Structure group, the most numerous, which had the goal of building the walls and the towers of the castle, decorating them properly and researching the most suitable materials to use.
- A Water group, with the aim of designing the pools that contained water, making sure that they were waterproof and not excessively heavy.
- An Electronics and Programming group, formed by only two students who took care of the entire sensor system, which consisted of 12 LED strips, a water pump, a servo motor, three ultrasonic sensors and an infrared sensor, all controlled by an arduino Mega and a generator.
- Finally a CAD group, which took care of the realization of a virtual prototype of the castle in order to facilitate the coordination of the various groups.
The difficulties were many (ranging from glues that corroded the walls, to water pools weighting tons, to electronics components burning up the day of the presentation), but despite that and thanks to the big help that came from the MIT mentors and the UniFe students our guy ended up successful once again!
At the end of the two weeks there was a big zoomcall together with the other participating nations (Spain and USA) where each team presented their project. Our castled worked perfectly and we even had a teammate of us dressed up as a medieval courtier playing a Chiarina inside of it!
Those two weeks had definitely been very intense and difficult for our students, but they allowed the kids to get involved, to get to know each other better, to have fun together and to have an unforgettable experience that certainly made them grow and learn from each other. To this day, the castle appeared in the local newspaper twice and is now exposed in one of the main halls of Liceo Scientifico A. Roiti, where students are still playing and having fun with it!