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BR’s Joseph Saturnino places 2nd at International Science and Engineering Fair

If you ask Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School student Joseph Saturnino why he loves STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) so much, he’ll tell you it’s because he recognizes how important new discoveries and advancements are in the evolution of the world.

An evolution he’s excited to contribute to.

The grade 11 student recently went international with his project "Robotic Revolution in the Construction Industry: An Autonomous Roof Shingling Robot.”

Placing second at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the category of Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Saturnino faced competition against 1414 projects from 82 countries, the world’s largest pre-college science competition.

Saturnino’s project hopes to fill a demand for roofing, which he said is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9% to reach $19.9 billion in 2021. His solution was to design and build a robot that would reduce the number of roofers needed, as well as the amount of time that a roofer would need to be on a roof. This would reduce the number of injuries to workers in the industry, he said.

“Within the construction industry overall, falls from roofs account for one-third of all fall-related fatalities,” he said. “Nearly 40% of all fatalities in the construction industry for 2014 were from falls. For these reasons I designed and built an autonomous roof shingling robot that could shingle a 4/12 pitch roof using standard shingles.”

Saturnino created 10 prototypes, focusing on four main systems: navigation, locomotion, robotic arm, and nailing system.

“The final prototype can auto-navigate to a start position, lay shingles and nail the shingles in place continuing this process until the roof is completely shingled. The robot navigates with accurate edge detection while maintaining a parallel position to the front edge of the roof.”

Held in Phoenix, Arizona, Intel not only provided Saturnino the platform to share his invention with like-minded individuals, but also network with scientists and entrepreneurs and learn about their findings.

For any student that hopes to one day compete at the same level, Saturnino says to “think outside of the box and to never give up.”

“One of the biggest problems developing an idea is deciding the method you wish to tackle the problem, and not giving up when the problem looks too hard to overcome.”

“Whenever you encounter a problem, step back and think of a new way to tackle it.”

Photo credit: BASEF
Photo credit: BASEF