Crystal Whiskers, Drunk Dieters and Levitation!? - BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition 2012

The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition has always brought fascinating and interesting projects with it, and this year is definitely no exception. We are just finished our first day at the BTYSTE 2012, and it was brilliant!

If you are trying to shed a few pounds as part of a New Year's Resolution, Exhibit No. 2525 may be of interest to you. The girls from St. Vincent's Secondary School with their project entitled - "At what day of the Atkins diet does a false positive occur in a breathalyser test under current legislation" really caught our eye. A low carb, high protein diet, like the Atkin's Diet, can cause your body to produce isopropyl alcohol, and it can reach a high enough level in many people's blood, that it is detectable in some breathalyser tests.  Irish breathalsyers have be calibrated not to detect isopropyl alcohol, but isopropyl alcohol can impair judgement, motor function, balance, risk assessment, and other cognitive functions at high levels. The St. Vincents students therefore feel that it may be necessary to be able to detect isopropyl alcohol using a breathalsyer. What are your thoughts?

We may be farming electricity in the future if the work done by the students at Maynooth Post Primary School continue their research. Their project entitled "Crystal whiskers: Their piezoelectric properties" was truly enlightening. By taking advantage of the piezoelectric properties(whereby energy is released from certain natural structures due to mechanical forces) of the crystals they formed, they were able to create the almost 1 Volt of electricity using the wind and a crystal farm the size of your thumb. Imagine the electricity that could be created on an acre of land. This project is definitely worth a look!

Although all the entries into the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition Competition are from Secondary School students, there is a Primary School Section at the RDS that is not to be missed!

We met an amazing bunch of young pupils from Kilmurray National School, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, who opened our eyes to the world of MagLev (Magnetic Levitation). From hovering trains and insanely efficient levitating wind turbines to a future of fuel efficient levitating cars, these guys knew it all. We spent a good 15 minutes chatting with, and questioning these guys and they didn't even bat an eyelid, and these guys were only 10 and 11. Great job guys! 

If you are heading over to the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, here are a few of our favourites, Exhibits 4615, 2511, 2525, 2310, 2216, 2306, 4555, 4610.

We are really looking forward to tomorrow, to seeing the rest of the projects and talking more of the incredible students! Keep an eye on the Science Gallery Twitter feed (@sciencegallery) as we will bring you updates during the day to let you know what our favourite projects are at BTYSTE.

The Mediator Crew @BTYSTE 2012