Rylan Ford

Back to Scientific and technical innovation

Personal Project Explanation


For my personal project, I decided to investigate artificial intelligence as a branch of
computer science I was quite interested in. To decide on a topic, I needed to find a real-life
application of this technology that aligned with my chosen global context - scientific and
technical innovation. This global context focuses on how technology and scientific
innovation can positively impact the world. With that in mind, I decided on a real-world
application for artificial intelligence that also addressed my chosen global context. This was
the use of machine learning (a subset of artificial intelligence) to improve the sorting system
of recycled waste. The goal of my project was to program, design and create an efficient
sorting system capable of demonstrating benefits of using a robotic AI system for recycled
waste sorting. I hoped this goal would lead me to creating a computer system that was able
to sort different items (such as Lego bricks) using machine learning. My project aimed to
address the global context of scientific and technical innovation by demonstrating how
cutting-edge robotic artificial intelligence systems can have a positive impact on the
environment, specifically by decreasing the contamination in recycling and reducing sorting
cost so a minimal amount of recyclable waste goes to landfill.
Throughout the project I faced many challenges that needed to be overcome to be
successful. The main challenge I faced was working on a project for a long period of time.
Most school assignments can be completed in a week, if not a couple of days. The personal
project by comparison requires on-going work for several months. I discovered that I
needed to develop the skills to pace myself and work steadily over a long period of time
rather than just completing something in one afternoon. On the flipside, there were also
aspects of the project that I found quite enjoyable, mainly being able to pursue a topic of
personal interest and undertake learning different to that at school. If I was to give one
piece of advice to any future student undertaking the personal project, I would say focus on
time-management. Being ahead of time on the project is a huge advantage, it gives you time
to improve your work and may also help with anxiety. The last thing you want to be doing is
writing the final report on the weekend before the due date.