Top in NZ in Digital Tech

By John Lewis (ODT) | Posted: Thursday October 8, 2020

Congratulations to Bill Campbell, Year 11 for topping the NZ ICAS Digital Tech exam.

See the Otago Daily Times article below: 

Young robotics achiever looks set for bright future in tech.

It is only a matter of time before a machine programmed by Bill Campbell rises and starts taking over jobs traditionally done by humans.

The Logan Park High School year 11 pupil has just achieved the top mark in New Zealand for the 2020 International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) digital technology exam for the second year in a row, and has also won national robotics titles in RoboCup competitions in the past two years.

But the 16-year-old has assured everyone he will not be using his skills to build robots with glowing red eyes, programmed to terminate people he dislikes.

Instead, he wants his robotics and digital technology skills to be used for "the good of humanity".

His latest project is to build and programme a solar-powered drone, which will be able to survey large areas autonomously.

"I’m programming it at the moment.

"The end-goal is for it to be solar powered and autonomous, so that you can just leave it to survey or patrol an area for an indefinite amount of time."

He said he would create a solar powered charging base that the drone could return to when it needed recharging — similar to the automatic vacuum cleaners used in some homes.

Earlier this year, he entered a prototype of the drone in the 2020 Aurora Energy Otago Regional Science Fair and won four of the top prizes.

He is now developing the initiative.

Bill said he spent most of his spare time on the project because he loved the "orderliness" of digital technology.

"There’s always the right answer or the wrong answer, unlike English which is quite subjective.

"So much about life, there’s not a right or a wrong answer. This gives me some stability.

"I like how usable it is — you can apply it to lots of things in life."

Although tertiary study is still more than two years away, Bill said he already had plans to study digital technology at the University of Otago.