Railtrack is evaluating a design from a Young Electronic Designer Awards (YEDA) finalist who has invented a cheap rail safety device that could help prevent disasters like the Hatfield crash.
Sixteen-year-old Martin Rosinski, from Ponteland Community High School in Newcastle upon Tyne, has developed a 'rail axle safety assessment device' that will detect and report the position of faults on track.
The device uses a microprocessor-based sensor to monitor the stress put on axles of trains, which could indicate damage to tracks such as bending, buckling or the cracking which caused October's Hatfield disaster. The device also incorporates a GPS to relay the exact position of faults.
If mass produced, it is estimated that the system could cost as little as £40 a unit. At that price, it could be added to every train in the country, and may eliminate the need to send specialised testing vehicles out on tracks, a process which disrupts services.
Rosinski's device is being tested by Railtrack, which is responsible for the upkeep of the rail network.
This is his fourth appearance as a finalist at YEDA, which is now in its 15th year and includes Electronics Times as a sponsor. Open to UK students aged between 12 and 25 years, YEDA's brief is for applicants to create, design and develop an electronics prototype that has commercial potential.
Rosinski's interest in electronics was first roused when he was six and his grandmother gave him an electronics set. He is currently studying for his GCSEs and plans to do A-levels and study engineering at university.
Malcolm Clark, director of YEDA, said: "It's very exciting that industry is prepared to consider an idea from a young person.
"This is one of the natural derivatives of the competition, designed to raise young people's awareness of the technology present in their everyday lives."
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