Aviation Technologist: Jerrell Ong

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Jerrell Ong (middle) taking charge in making miracles.

 

We decided to share with you our intellectual crush on Jerrell, one of your youngest mentor, wish vast knowledge and deep interest in aviation and technology. Find out more about him here:

 

Tell us about your name, age, and current study/work?

 
Jerrell, 18, aerospace engineering undergraduate freshman at NTU.

 

How do you think Technology will be of relevance in the future?


Technology is going to completely change how we live our lives in 20 years time, just as how the Internet has completely changed society in the past 20 years. I believe most of these changes will be for the better: seamless communication with anyone from all over the world, free exchange of information at our fingertips, easy point-to-point transport. On a more big-picture level, it’s the only way we can protect ourselves from climate change. Infrastructure at every level needs to undergo electrification, and the entire energy grid needs to turn renewable, if we’re going to have even the slimmest chance of surviving climate change.

 

What about the importance in being equipped with these skills? How are you also using skills related to technology now in your daily life?
Virtually 100% of work at university is done on a computer. All the relevant (hard) skills I’ll actually be able to apply in the workplace will involve a computer: programming, 3D modelling and design, or more boring things like proposal and report writing. Instead of learning how to do things, we now need to learn how to make things (computers, the Internet) do things for us.

In daily life, being proficient in searching for and processing information is probably the most important skill one needs to learn, because there is just so much of it to be accessed.

 

Tell us about the one project you have done, your experience and takeaway. Describe difficult situation/project and discuss how you managed to overcome it.


The  CCL project I’ve been involved in so far is an introduction of MaKey MaKey and Scratch programming to Primary 4 students. Something I didn’t expect was the huge range in creativity, ability and interest of the student groups. The most some groups could muster was basically reusing a pre-existing template, whereas some could genuinely create and concoct a situation in which their idea could work.

One personal challenge for me was when one of my groups tried to achieve something with Scratch beyond the scope of the basics I had mastered. They wanted to create an event triggered by collision between two sprites. The project brief emphasised on scaling down the kids’ ideas to make them achievable within the short timespan, but I just couldn’t bring myself to say “no” to them. So I pulled out my laptop and taught myself how to do what was needed in about 10 minutes, and taught the kids how to do it. I think it was worth it, and I made the correct decision.

 

What are your goals for future?

I want to involve myself as much as possible in hands-on projects involving the manufacture of actual aircraft or subsystems, because NTU offers great opportunities for that. I’m applying for internships in the space industry like Airbus in Europe; even though I’m a freshman I figured I would try. Optimally that’s the career direction I’m working towards, but failing that I’m still very passionate about aeronautics (aviation within the atmosphere). I believe in goals that push you to do more than you actually can. Otherwise you won’t know what you can achieve.

 

What sort of help that you need you could think of now that will help you advance in your goals?


Technical skills like 3D computer-aided design; soldering and polystyrene carving. I’m struggling to learn these while making RC aircraft.

 

Generate an idea instantaneously now and how would you do it, and what’s the purpose and impact of this?

Power transmission via microwave (e.g. wireless charging) which is practical at long-range and can allow perpetual flight time for unmanned aircraft. Solves the problem of range and turnaround time for things like drone deliveries and professional surveillance.

 

Propose a project Creative Coding Lab can work with and you may be involved in the future in a single tweet’s limit of 140 characters.

Who can mine the most bitcoins in an hour? One day for software optimisation and assembling the hardware, one day for the competition.