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Interactive video lesson plan for: Scanning the Sky with Computer Code

Activity overview:

Researching tether dynamics involves more than just flying kites. As Cambridge University Ph.D student Hilary Costello explains, her experiments need recording and validating with data.

Without placing sensors on the tether itself how can the dynamics of a string down its full length over time be recorded? To test out a solution she heads out to brave the elements with Masters student Richard Shaw.

The pair position two stills cameras at different angles to the line and with a shared trigger shoot simultaneous pictures at one frame per second. These images are then feed into a bespoke computer programme to map the true position of the tether against the backdrop of a cloudy sky.

With a bit of tweaking and data processing (the rarely seen "boring bit" of much modern research) Hilary is able to accurately model the position of her kite tether -- a tool that will prove vital in her ongoing research.

This film is part of a project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop the on camera communication skills of engineers across the UK.

View the full video collection on the Ri Channel: http://richannel.org/collections/2012/components

Tagged under: Science,Coding,Engineering,University Cambridge,Physics,Kites,Balloons,Maths,Computer,Technology,Camera,Sky

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