Olivia Hayes’ exceptional HSC results came as a shock for the talented sportswoman, whose major work in Design and Technology was selected among the final works to be displayed in the HSC Shape 2020 exhibition. She is now thinking of changing her university preferences to include a design element.
Olivia mixed her passion as a javelin thrower with her HSC major work and came up with a unique ‘smart javelin’ called ThrowSMART that not only measures the distance thrown but also the angle and speed of the javelin after it has been launched.
The successful design won her a place in the HSC Shape 2020 exhibition of the most outstanding Design and Technology major works in NSW, to be held at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum on 27 February 2021.
ThrowSMART overcomes one of the major challenges for all javelin throwers – measuring the distances achieved in a training session.
“We waste so much time measuring each throw manually with a tape measure, and we are measuring more than 40 throws in a training session, so I really thought there should be a better way,” Olivia explained. “I also was concerned about the safety aspect of walking onto the javelin sector to measure our throws when there are often many other athletes training, so I wondered how I could solve this.”
The process of making the ThrowSMART was quite a challenge. Olivia explains:
“There were two different factors – one part was the electronic configuration of the GPS device, which ended up being quite complex and I had to go and consult with JayCar and take lessons on how to do that. The second part was attaching the electronic component inside the javelin, because the inside is hollow so I had to figure out how to stop it moving up and down. Also, the javelin width is ridiculously small, so the electronic component needed to be small too. Initially the electronics were 1mm bigger than the diameter of the javelin so I had to make a new compartment within the javelin.”
Olivia got some helpful advice from JayCar Electronics and her grandfather, but all the research, design and physical creation of the product fell to her. “My grandfather helped supply all the machinery and tools I needed,” she said. “The electronic technology side of the design was completely new to me so it took me probably 10 months of research and trials to bring it all together.”
The final piece of the design was to add a Bluetooth connection to the javelin and create an app to read and download all the data. “What I wanted the GPS to measure was the distance, angle and speed of a javelin throw. I had to make sure the electronics inside the javelin connected to an app on your phone, otherwise it would have been pointless, as you want to be able to read the results instantly,” Olivia explained. “So all I had to do was attach a Bluetooth piece to the technology to connect it easily to a phone, and now all the measurements pop up instantly on a phone.
“I often train with another 20 girls in the Shire and so I’m looking forward to using it in training, but because of COVID-19, I haven’t managed to do that yet.”
Next year, Olivia had planned to study sport and exercise science at UTS, but after receiving her HSC results last Friday, where her ATAR was a stunning 93.55, she is looking at including other possibilities.
“After receiving my results, which completely shocked me, I’m now looking at changing my course slightly to include some design elements,” Olivia said. “The exciting thing about ThrowSMART is that it has the potential to become a commercial product and could also be incorporated into other sports implements, such as a discus, shot put, cricket ball or softball.”