Two eight graders from a school for learners aged 11 to 15 in Vietnam have created a system able to automatically shelter coffee beans from rain and make them dry in adverse weather conditions.
The two classmates Nguyen Anh Hao and Nguyen Thanh Long, students at Gia Hiep Middle School in Lam Dong Province, located in the Central Highlands, have won the third prize in a provincial technological competition thanks to the smart system, which advanced toward a national contest.
Their final product includes an outdoor frame over which plastic sheets can be pulled closer together when necessary.
The sheets’ movement is controlled by a rain and moisture sensor, the latter capable of predicting rain and proactively covering the frame.
The structure’s top and sides are rain-proof, which means that the coffee seeds inside it are safe.
The system by itself rolls the covering up in favorable weather.
But the students had to face the situation seasonally occurring in their hometown: prolonged periods of rain, and the resultant high humidity.
To preserve coffee bean quality in that case, they programmed the system to dry coffee beans by activating a mechanical component responsible for flipping the beans uniformly and turning on electric fans positioned at the frame’s corners.
The system operates according to a set regime or real-time control by users on a mobile phone.
“It takes about only four seconds for the sheets to cover the whole frame,” one of the students said.
Hao germinated the idea of drying equipment when he observed that coffee growers in Lam Dong worked very hard to dry harvested seeds from coffee plants – staple crops in the area.
The farmers usually rush to cover their sun-exposed beans against time when the sky threatens rain.
He floated the idea, which he considered efficient and labor-saving, to his peer Long and his teacher Pham Van Tinh.
Under the teacher’s guidance, Hao performed the programming for the system while Long figured out its mechanical model. They purchased the sensors from a store.
The product was brought to a completion seven months later, after a number of tests.
Hao walks on crutches and has two feeble hands as he was diagnosed with limb defects after birth.
The boy is keen on information technology and aspires to become a programmer, his mother said.
|Nguyen Anh Hao. Photo: Tuoi Tre|