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Aussie student’s autonomous robotic window cleaner wins international award

2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Award winner Oliver Nicholls has taken home the top prize and $US75,000 as winner of the Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) announced in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Friday night.

The 19-year-old from Barker College in Sydney secured the win with his fully-autonomous robotic window cleaner that is designed to reduce human injury and decrease the costs of window cleaning on medium rise commercial buildings. The small robotic device uses drones, motors and propellers to navigate building facades and clean windows using water and micro-fibre scrubbers.

Australian students excelled at the international competition, with five of Australia’s 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards finalists securing a total of 11 major award wins against a field of over 1800 high school students from 75 countries.

CSIRO Education and Outreach Director Mary Mulcahy said it was another example of Australia’s great science being recognised on the global stage.

“Australia is one of the best places in the world to start a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). By having our high school students winning international awards, we are further strengthening our international reputation as an innovative country,” Ms Mulcahy said.

The BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Award finalists attended Intel ISEF as part of the BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards Australian delegation and STANSW’s Young Scientist delegation.

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. Each year over 1800 high school students from more than 75 countries, regions, and territories are awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research and compete for on average $4 million in prizes. The BHP Billiton Foundation and Intel Foundation provide support for the BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards Australian delegation attending the fair.

Other Australian students recognised at Intel ISEF include Angelina Arora from NSW, whose shrimp shell bioplastics project won 4th place in Physical Sciences, Environmental Engineering category; Caitlin Roberts from Tasmania won 3rd place in the Life Science, Biomedical Sciences category for her project on protease inhibiting effect of almonds and Jade Moxey and Macinley Buston from NSW won 3rd place in Physical Sciences, Environmental Engineering category for their sanitation and sterilisation system.

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