Submitted by Carrie Schluter, public relations specialist
Yashaswini Makaram, eighth grader at in Northborough, MA, won the top prize in the 2012 state-wide Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair
The Massachusetts Middle School Science & Engineering Fair is a forum for students in grades 6-8 to explore "real world" science and engineering discovery through hands-on experience. Students also learn about the many exciting and emerging fields of science and technology today, building important life skills—from reading, writing and math to communications, teamwork and design.
The first statewide competitive fair was held in 1999, and since that time, participation has been on the rise. The competition was held on June 2, 2012 at Worcester Technical High School in Worcester.
Approximately 300 students from middle schools around the state participated in individual and team projects. The Grand Prize is sponsored by Cabot Corporation.
Yashaswini was awarded the top prize in 2012 for her project “"Accelerometer Apps: Sizing Up Smartphones to Measure Height and Distance." She used open-source android SDK and examples to pull together a smartphone app that allowed her to measure the angle of phone’s tilt with respect to direction of gravity using the built-in accelerometer. She used the phone camera to view the object and align to its top and bottom. She then used this information and trigonometric computations to measure height and distance to an object. She did more than 300 measurements with different phones, objects of different heights and at different distances to thoroughly assess the accuracy of measurements.
She had obtained second place in 2011 for her project “Printings, Paintings, Pictures and Pixels: A Study in Science of Vision,“ which analyzed the performance of digital technologies such as scanners, digital camera and computer screens to accurately depict the features of works of art such as oil paintings and water colors.
Yashaswini enjoys math and science and has represented her school in various math meets. She loves to read; fantasy is her favorite genre. She plays flute in the school band and is learning singing Indian Classical music.
What inspired her to do the project? She said, “I was learning about trigonometry, and had gotten a new phone so it would be interesting to incorporate what I was learning into an experiment, and explore how android phones work at the same time."