Orange County student selected as a top finalist in premiere national middle school STEM competition

A middle school student from Newport Beach was recently recognized as one of the most promising innovators in the nation.

Ryan Honary, a seventh-grader at the Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, was one of 30 finalists to compete in Broadcom MASTERS, billed as the nation’s premier science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — middle school competition.

Ryan Honary, a seventh-grader at the Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, was one of 30 finalists to compete in Broadcom MASTERS.
Photo courtesy of the Pegasus School.

A program of the Broadcom Foundation and the Society for Science & the Public, Broadcom MASTERS seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators who will solve complex challenges of the future.

Honary’s project — a machine learning-driven IOT (internet of things) sensor network for early detection and growth prediction of wildfires/COVID-19 — awarded him national honors. He is the sole competitor from Orange County in this year’s competition.

According to the Daily Pilot, Honary got the idea for his project in 2018 when devastating wildfires spread quickly in Northern California, largely destroying the town of Paradise. He started wondering why there wasn’t a better system in place to detect wildfires and decided to create fire detectors powered by solar panels and feature Raspberry Pi microcomputers.

Honary told the Daily Pilot that he wanted to create a low-cost network that could be deployed in high-risk locations with no infrastructure.

“The moment the fire detector detects a fire, it can communicate the information using no infrastructure, since it has its own built-in wireless, until it reaches my meteorological station,” he said. “The meteorological station will then use its own built-in cellular to communicate that information to my app, which I created.”

The young inventor presented his research project and findings, along with the other nationwide finalists, at the virtual Broadcom MASTERS last month. Finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from 3,476 applicants in 42 states and Puerto Rico. The top 300 entrants were chosen in September, and the final 30 were selected to showcase their projects during finals week in October.

Honary’s project also placed second in the 2020 Orange County Science and Engineering virtual fair, held earlier this year.

His project will be available for the public to view through Nov. 4 in the virtual Broadcom MASTERS Science and Engineering Project Showcase.