legend! British prodigy £30 homemade small satellite

Use satellite maps to find your childhood home

  13-year-old Avery lives with his grandparents in Harlow, Leeds, England. Avery is a quiet boy. He is very introverted and does not like to talk. This may be related to his childhood experience. Avery’s parents are both botanists. Due to work reasons, they took Avery to live in the French countryside for 7 years. Unfortunately, the day before Avery’s 8th birthday, they were in a car accident and both were killed… Avery was sent to Harlow by relatives to live with his grandparents.
  Avery’s grandfather was a stern old man, and under his influence, Avery was also very strong. Avery likes popular science books. When his grandfather saw him thirsty for knowledge, he bought him a computer. Since then, Avery has been fascinated by all kinds of popular science knowledge on the Internet. His favorite is space knowledge.
  Through Google satellite maps, Avery’s vision extends from a small village in the UK to the whole world. He clicked the mouse, eager to see the world’s famous scenic spots on the earth: the first is the Great Wall of China. As the book says, in space, the Great Wall of China in the ancient East is the most visible building from the moon.
  Seeing that he was so excited, my grandfather encouraged him and said, you can find our home. Immediately, Avery clicked the mouse and the three-dimensional spherical map began to rotate. Avery found the territory of Britain, and then successfully found the small town of Harlow. The first thing he saw was his grandfather’s mayor’s office building and his school. In this way, as long as Avery clicks the mouse, he can “travel the world” on the Internet!
  Then, Avery suddenly thought that he wanted to find a place where he lived with his parents in his childhood. With the memory of 7 years ago, Avery drew his home in the French countryside on paper. Not only the old bridge, he painted the river, streets, and nearby hills by hand, and even marked the width of the river. Then, he began to find France on the three-dimensional map, and wrote a key word in the search bar: bridge.
  Avery searched the map one by one, trying to find a place on the map that could overlap with his memory… Finally, he found the ancient bridge in eastern France. Then, I was pleasantly surprised to see several houses near the bridge. Among them, the red-roofed house was where he lived in his childhood! Avery’s eyes were wet. All the memories of childhood emerged all at once. Avery seems to have seen the fireworks on the roof with his parents on the last Christmas Eve…
  It is not far from England to France. Avery wanted to go to France alone to find a place to live with his parents after graduating from high school. But now, through satellite maps, he has realized his dream ahead of time! Avery kept the photos of the house and surrounding scenery taken on the satellite map, which became his most precious collection.
  He did not expect that the satellite aerial map could help him find his dream home!
Obsessed with the feeling of bird’s eye view from the air

  Since then, Avery has become obsessed with satellite maps. Through his studies, he learned that satellite maps use helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft or ultralight aircraft to take pictures of real objects on the earth in the air.
  One day in May 2009, after a heavy rain, Avery saw a rainbow in the sky. It was curved and long, extending to the other end of the forest.
  At that time, Avery was working as a volunteer in an orphanage, taking care of Mary who was paralyzed in her legs and sitting in a wheelchair. When Avery saw the rainbow, he said excitedly: “Ah! What a beautiful rainbow!” But Mary said sadly: “I really want to see more beautiful scenery.” Mary’s sad words touched Avery’s heart. He knew that Mary was born with a disability and had never left the orphanage, let alone appreciate the beauty and lack of beauty around her.
  He wanted to help Mary see the beautiful scenery, so he took a panoramic photo with a small Nikon camera, a birthday gift his grandfather gave him. And “panoramic shooting” is almost one of the essential functions of the current camera. Users only need to hold the shutter and move the camera to record a vast scene.
  However, Avery feels that the so-called “panorama shooting” of ordinary cameras is actually a horizontal and wide-view photo, not a true “panorama”.
  Despite this, Mary was very happy. Through the photos, she saw the woods, the school and the football field in the distance. Avery is not satisfied, he wants Mary to see the real panoramic photos. So, he had a whim-wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could use the method of shooting satellite maps and attach a camera to a kite to take aerial pictures of the panorama around the orphanage?
  However, although Avery’s Nikon camera is lightweight, it is impossible to tie it to a kite to shoot. Just when Avery was at a loss, one afternoon, he saw a few classmates playing pinball together-it was a crystal pinball made of green, transparent high-performance rubber, which could be moved up high. Thrown into the air.
  Seeing the pinball rotating 360 degrees in the air, a bright light suddenly appeared in Avery’s mind! He immediately designed a blueprint-integrating multiple cameras for mobile phones into a rubber sphere, and then throwing the ball high into the air, it will be able to capture images from above the sky down! Avery’s ideas also aroused the interest of his classmates and physics teachers who love technology.
  In order to realize this 360-degree panoramic shooting method, the 36 2-megapixel fixed-focus mobile phone cameras found were made into a module and fixed in a rubber-made “camera ball” with good flexibility. Then, throw it to the sky…
  On June 15, 2009, Avery and everyone came to the orphanage. He gave Mary the camera and said, “Throw it in the air, come on, work hard!” Mary took the camera and she Raise both hands and throw the camera ball into the air. When the camera flew to the highest point, 36 cameras were turned on at the same time, and 36 photos of different angles were automatically taken.
  Since the appearance of the camera ball is rubber with good elasticity, when it falls to the ground, the camera is still intact! Avery picked up the camera and exported the photos to the computer. Thus, a real 360-degree panoramic photo was made!
  When Mary clicked the mouse to turn the picture, she said in surprise: “So I live in such a place!” Everyone applauded. After this incident, Avery’s love and his ideas were published on the Internet by other partners who love science.
  Unexpectedly, this small mini camera ball attracted the attention of German computer engineer Jonas. He led the team to modify Avery’s camera into a more high-tech “360-degree panoramic spherical throwable camera”.
  The British “Daily Mail” quoted the official website of this project as an introduction report: “Compared with ordinary photos, the large wide-angle photos created by middle school student Avery and designed by German experts can give people an immersive panoramic effect! “When the reporter interviewed Avery on how he came up with this good idea, he said: “I was inspired by satellite maps. Until now, I am still curious about the altitude 10,000 meters away!”

Self-made satellite to shoot wonderful scenery

  Through this incident, Avery began to have a keen interest in electronic engineering. Unexpectedly, he is quite talented in this area. In 2012, he completed the basic courses of middle school mathematics and physics ahead of schedule. And his talent also attracted the attention of professors at Bede College in Blyth, Northumberland, England. This is an old and excellent university, and it pays particular attention to the cultivation of talents in physics and electronic technology. In September 2012, Avery was admitted exceptionally and became the youngest talented teenager in this university.
  In a relaxed atmosphere, Avery still has an obsession with high-altitude shooting. Although the 360-degree panoramic camera created by him has become a high-tech product, Avery feels that its use is very limited. You know, a 360-degree panoramic camera is just a form of entertainment in daily life. Although it can be thrown high above the sky, its height is limited. What Ai Li longs to see is the natural beauty of all things under the sky of 10,000 meters! He hopes to take his own satellite photos.
  So, Avery decided to make a space camera!
  Just do it! Avery first bought a second-hand Canon camera online for 30 pounds. Then, based on the knowledge in the physics class, it took 40 hours to make the camera device-a foam plastic insulated box equipped with temperature sensors, high-performance solar panels, radios and microprocessors.
  They bundled the camera in this box, and then dug a hole on the side of the box to expose the camera lens. In addition, they also tied a Motorola mobile phone to the camera. The GPS positioning function of the mobile phone can facilitate them to determine the specific location of the camera on the ground. In addition, there is a parachute in this device.
  And this method of launching the “space camera” made by Avery into the sky also looks quite “primitive”: With the help of his chemistry classmates, Avery filled a weather balloon with helium gas and let the balloon go up with the camera equipment. sky.
  Then, Avery set the shooting frequency of the camera to take a photo every 5 seconds. The sensors on the balloon send data back to the computer via the radio device on the balloon to report progress in real time. The balloon used by Avery is about 2 cubic meters in size and weighs only 1.5 kilograms. The sensor and camera it carries weigh 1.5 kg.
  However, scientists currently regard the minimum height of artificial satellites from the ground (100 km to 110 km) as the lowest limit of outer space. And Avery’s space camera equipment can’t fly into space yet.
  When the balloon rises to the stratosphere about 17.5 miles (about 28 kilometers) above the ground, the balloon will explode. At this point, the parachute opens, and then returns to the ground with the camera. The signal from the phone will help Avery find the camera.
  In December 2012, Avery completed this self-made space camera. Before that, in order to prevent the camera from finally landing in the sea, Avery and his assistants checked a lot of information on the Internet and performed repeated calculations to determine the best date, time and place for takeoff. To ensure that they are foolproof, they also “rewarded” $40 for anyone who picked up the device and returned it to them.
  On September 18, Avery’s homemade space camera was launched early in the morning near Northumberland. The balloon lifted off at an average speed of 270 meters per minute. During the lift-off process, the atmospheric pressure gradually decreases and the balloon begins to expand. The balloon can expand to a maximum of about 9.5 cubic meters. The key point is whether the balloon can smoothly enter the stratosphere, which is 10,000 meters above the ground, from the troposphere. 10,000 meters is the stable flying height of a large aircraft.
  Fortunately, the balloon withstood the test and eventually exceeded 30,000 meters in height. After 5 hours, the balloon exploded because the internal pressure of the balloon was greater than the external pressure. The camera equipment returned to the ground with the assistance of a parachute, and the landing site was on a construction site 25 miles (about 40 kilometers) away from the liftoff point! When the experiment was successful, Avery’s classmates were very excited: “It’s so beautiful to see the earth at an altitude of 30,000 meters!”
  From the photo, Avery can see the atmosphere at an altitude of 30,000 meters, and even the clouds. The black space above. This stunning space photo made Avery a star! And Avery completed this “feat” only cost 150 pounds.
  The American media lamented that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends hundreds of millions of dollars on high-tech satellites every year, and the photos taken are nothing more than that!
  Avery’s pioneering work surprised the doctoral students, but he did not dare to slacken his efforts and never gave up his dream.
  From the moment Avery found his home on the satellite map, he had a keen interest in satellites, and the invention of the homemade 360 ​​panoramic camera and space camera made Avery firmer in his dream.
  In February 2013, with the help of these doctors, Avery modified the self-made “space camera”. He tied some solar sensors the size of a ping-pong ball to the helium weather balloon. Like the space camera, the balloon can fly to altitudes higher than 30,000 meters, and the solar sensor collects data on solar radiation flow and atmospheric fluctuations-so far, this is the world’s lowest cost and most convenient design Solar sensor satellite. Because it is lightweight, durable, and stable, it can work longer in space. More importantly, the solar sensor satellite designed by Avery can help scientists analyze and weigh whether it is more beneficial to install solar panels in the earth’s atmosphere or install them in outer space!
  Alan Conner, Assistant Vice President of Bede College, also said: “Although Avery is very young, he is incredibly able to understand electronic engineering. What’s more amazing is that he has sent satellites into space. Yes. It is foreseen that he will have a lot to do in the field of science when he grows up!” Now, Avery also said that he hopes to become a doctorate in electronic engineering in the future and use his ability to realize more dreams.