By B.C. Manion
Imagine you could engineer a circuit board that would use less electricity and be easier to build.
Fifteen-year-old David Gamero, a student in the upper division at Academy at the Lakes, didn’t just imagine it. He built it.
And, his efforts are getting attention.
The young man from Trinity received an Intel Excellence in Computer Science award, which was accompanied by a $200 cash prize, at the 57th annual State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida in early April at the Lakeland Center. That follows his first place finish at the Regional Pasco Science Fair in February. Other awards the high school freshman scooped up at the regional contest were:
–The Intel Excellence in Computer Science Award
–The Excellence in Manufacturing Engineering Principles Award
–The 2011 Regional Ricoh Sustainable Development Award
–The CH2M Hill Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Project
–The U.S. Army Certificate of Achievement for Outstanding Science and Engineering
Next, he’ll compete at Intel ISEF International Science and Engineering Fair in Philadelphia in May.
Gamero designed a system that runs in a grid, using no central processing unit.
“All of the power goes straight to the display. All of it is done with simple, physical circuits. So, it takes up more space but uses less electricity,” he said.
The simplicity of Gamero’s engineering project is elegant, said Amy Jordan, who taught at Harvard before coming to Academy at the Lakes to teach science.
“That’s pretty sophisticated,” she said. “Often, when someone does something pretty interesting, people go, ‘Oh, that’s obvious.’
“That’s what makes it great. If it weren’t obvious, it probably wouldn’t be that great,” Jordan said.
It’s impressive that Gamero could take his idea and actually make it work, Jordan said.
“Thinking that you could do it — and doing it, is a big deal,” she said.
The teenager said he has always enjoyed tinkering.
“I’ve always loved to take apart stuff. My dad and I used to build things all of the time.
“The first thing I built – my dad and I put together an entertainment center,” he recalled, estimating he was about 4 years old at the time.
“I probably slowed him down,” he said, because his father had to stop and explain how to perform the tasks.
“I remember taking apart toys when they were broken,” Gamero said. He would cannibalize parts and use them in different ways.
Gamero said he has always enjoyed seeing how things work.
In third- and fourth grade he did physics-oriented projects involving eggs. Then he shifted to a catapult trajectory problem in sixth grade. He began developing an interest in electronics during seventh and eighth grades.
He’s not sure where his career path will lead, but suspects it will involve mathematics or engineering.
“I’ll find my way,” the young man said.