Teams advance to ‘Burn Notice’ finals

Sydney Saunders, Krishna Davda, Staff Writers

Two West Shore teams have been selected as finalists in the nationwide Burn Notice Science Challenge sponsored by USA Network. The initial competition required high school students to devise solutions to challenges the characters on the TV show “Burn Notice” might face, such as surveillance or intelligence gathering.

One team, composed of seniors Sydney Balgo, Sam Dornbusch and junior Lexie Krehbiel, developed an intruder-detection system that uses a spinning screw, created by running current through a battery-magnet-wire circuit.  If the circuit is disturbed by an intruder, a picture of the intruder is taken and the owner is notified remotely.

“We have a very practical design, so we are definitely capable of placing and building this design,” Krehbiel said. “Our design was very MacGyver-like and used all common house-hold items.”

The all-senior team of Callie Heuser, Kaylee McCormack and Naomi Sommer created a covert surveillance system to investigate an enemy compound surrounded by 20-foot walls. Their solution involved a quiet remote-controlled quad-propeller miniature helicopter fitted with a radar receiver to map the interior of the compound by detecting and analyzing radar signals produced by transmitters hidden outside the compound.

“We are not very likely to place because we decided to design a very complicated project,” Heuser said. “We were instructed to write a solution for the first phase of this competition. We wrote the paper with the idea in mind that we didn’t have to build it, so we made it very complex. When we moved on to the next level, we were a little discouraged because we wrote such a complex solution.”

Each team received a $50 giftcard to help pay for some of its expenses.