A team of Penn Manor High School students placed in the top three in the regional Governor’s STEM Competition, held Feb. 13 at Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13.
Team members include senior Kevin Ward, sophomores Seretta Kelly and Ryan Buchwalder and freshmen Aidan Lewis and Moses Buckwalter.
Their project was Smartpack, a backpack equipped with a built-in scale to alert users when it becomes heavy enough to cause physical problems.
According to research by the students, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends backpacks, when filled, weigh less than 10 percent to 15 percent of a user’s body weight. Carrying more weight can result in neck, back or shoulder pain.
The team’s design utilizes a low-cost Raspberry Pi computer that displays the weight and also features a programmable schedule, clock and GPS capability. A scale is attached under the handle of the backpack, which features an “SP” Smartpack logo designed and created by the students with a 3-D printer.
Members had to demonstrate their design to a panel of judges and explain how they researched, designed and built the prototype.