Gold stars: Young engineers at Ripon Grammar School, (L-R) Alec Cavell-Taylor, Patrick Moon, Jonathan Tanner and John Ashton, with their teacher Mr Barker, after receiving their gold CREST awards for inventing a train detection system for rural level-crossings
The pupils - Alec Cavell-Taylor, Patrick Moon, Jonathan Tanner and John Ashton - had to complete around 70 hours of project work to achieve the highest accolade in CREST, a UK-wide award scheme to support students' interest in science, technology, engineering and maths.
The challenge began for the Ripon Grammar School boys early last year when they were set their task by international engineering company Siemens to design and prototype a train detection system.
Patrick explained: "It had to be cheap to implement and could warn pedestrians of an approaching train on rural pedestrian level-crossings.
"After a number of setbacks, including a three-week delay after our residential workshop was cancelled due to flooding, we finally produced a prototype."
Drawing on Jonathan’s programming expertise, the team designed a piece of software that enabled them to detect a train, using Piezo hardware, up to two kilometres away. Coupled with a warning unit, it could successfully detect and notify pedestrians of approaching trains.
The boys presented their findings and final portfolio to a panel of judges with engineering expertise at the CREST final hosted at Sheffield Hallam University, where they were awarded the Gold Crest Award for exceptional effort and became Industrial Cadets.
Patrick added: "It was a great experience and we would all highly recommended it to any students considering an engineering degree."
Engineering teacher at Ripon Grammar School Mr Barker said: "I'm really delighted for the students. After their residential in Lancaster was cancelled due to the flooding, I thought they would be limited to silver, so their gold CREST award achievement is even more impressive."