STEM’s ‘Camera Obscura Project’


Sam Habashy, Editor

In the wake of a great collaboration, Sunnyvale High STEM 4 students have teamed up with University of Texas college professors to create a model of a camera that could adhere to potential disabilities consumers may possess. 

The project began on September 19th, 2019 and was facilitated by Sunnyvale High’s own Adlena Jacobs and her advanced STEM classes. The students involved in this project had a massive opportunity to apply what they were doing in the classroom to a much wider scale.

“The project is done in conjunction with schools in the University of Texas system, which allows students not only to potentially earn dual credit hours, but also make connections with schools they might be interested in,” said Paige Sanders, a student not directly involved but who observes the project from afar.

For the project to flow efficiently, these STEM students were required to diligently think through every little step they might have to do in order to achieve their desired result.

“This project is just about the physical camera itself as there were many steps we had to do before we started the physical construction process,” said Leon Shaji, one of Mrs.Jacobs’ students working on the project. “We had to create a CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawing of our camera and break down the parts, dimensions, and materials used to construct the final product.”

Each student involved in the project had various roles to fill which spoke volumes about the team-oriented mindset these students had to be in.

“Each student is tasked with developing various designs about accessibility and is also tasked with learning how camera apertures/lenses mathematically affect the outcome of the image (orientation, clarity),” said Bryce Fothergill, a student working under the long-term project. “The Camera Obscura Project serves more as a collaborative project than an individual project by allowing groups to work together and build upon each other’s ideas via constructive criticism.”

The project has also benefited the students in terms of leadership and responsibility. 

“In terms of who is the leader of this project, we are,” said Leon Shaji. “It’s solely our choice to even build the product as no one is forcing us or asking us to do so.”

The students see this project as a bridge between class work and real-world application.

“This project is not only used as a great application of engineering techniques used in the industry, it’s also an application of sorts to UT,” said Leon. “Students learn the craft of developing photos, which creates a well-rounded skill set in both the arts and STEM,” said Paige.

While this project gives the STEM department a chance to accomplish many more of these interactive lessons, such projects like these contribute to SISD as a whole.

“The camera project contributes to the innovative spirit Sunnyvale ISD prides itself on; it requires students to use both their intellect and creativity to create usable objects,” said Paige Sanders. “The project itself contributes to SISD as a way for its students to be more prepared for the STEM fields and futures they wish to be apart of,” said Leon Shaji.