A smart sprinkler, a quicker way to access Band-Aids, and an app to help build more sustainable communities have been declared the three best inventions from young Australians as part of Origin’s littleBIGidea competition for young inventors.

The students who came up with these inventive ideas have now each won an innovation adventure for two to the USA featuring visits to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Epcot Theme Park at Disneyworld and Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

From over 950 entries nationally, the judging panel – including former host of ABC’s New Inventors James O’Loghlin – have awarded the top prizes to the following children for their demonstration of originality, creativity, practicality and imagination.

  • Grade 3 & Grade 4: Ten year old Bridgette Veneris, from St Joseph’s, Chelsea (VIC) for “Faster-Aid” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)
  • Grade 5 & Grade 6: Eleven year old Dylan Bathgate from St Edmonds College, Griffith (ACT) for his “Food Recycling App” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)
  • Year 7 & Year 8: Twelve year old Kern Mitchell from Colonel Light Gardens Primary School (SA) for his “Smart Sprinkler” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)

“This is the third year of Origin’s littleBIGidea and once again we have been amazed at the level of creativity and innovation from our young Aussie inventors,” says Jon Briskin, General Manager, Retail, Origin.

“Congratulations to all the children who entered this year and I encourage them all to keep up their creativity, because if they do then Australia’s innovation future is in good hands.”

Origin’s littleBIGidea encourages children to think creatively about how to solve real world problems – and aims to foster problem solving skills, curiosity and adaptability.

Thousands of ideas have been submitted to Origin’s littleBIGidea in its first three years, with some previous winners going on to commercialise their ideas and others using the opportunities presented by the competition to further their study and career ambitions.

2016 littleBIGidea National Winners

Grade 3 & Grade 4: Ten year old Bridgette Veneris, from St Joseph’s, Chelsea (VIC) for “Faster-Aid” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)

Since being diagnosed with leukaemia last year, Bridgette had the idea from watching her mum and nurses struggle with opening the many adhesive plasters (otherwise known as Band-Aids) she required.

As part of her idea, the adhesive plasters would be a long roll similar to sticky tape, with perforated edges every 4cm, padding in the middle, and a protective plastic layer to keep them sterile. Users would simply pull the dispenser to the next perforated edge like sticky tape and tear off the adhesive plaster. The dispenser would close to keep them sterile.

Judges comments: “Bridgette’s idea is brilliant in its simplicity,” says Origin littleBIGidea judge James O’Loghlin. “It makes a common task simpler, reduces waste, and solves a problem that many people have trying to open complex sanitised packaging when there is an immediate need for aid.”

Grade 5 & Grade 6: Eleven year old Dylan Bathgate from St Edmonds College, Griffith (ACT) for his “Food Recycling App” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)

Dylan’s Food Recycling App has been designed to help people recycle their food in a sustainable way and fix world-wide food waste. Features include a list of charities that are able to collect unwanted food, handy tips about recycling food, and a system to locate nearby chicken pens, worm farms or compost bins where you are able to take your food scraps to recycle. The app would also have a free subscription which allows you to tell others in your local community if you have a chicken pen or compost bin which they can also use.

Judges comments: “Dylan’s idea cleverly uses the convenience of a mobile app to make it easier for people to connect with local community services that can help them reduce their food wastage”, says Origin’s littleBIGidea judge James O’Loghlin. “The idea has real potential to help individuals play their part in being sustainable.”

Year 7 & Year 8: Twelve year old Kern Mitchell from Colonel Light Gardens Primary School (SA) for his “Smart Sprinkler” (Video demonstration of idea can be viewed here)

Kern has bettered his efforts in the same competition from 2014 when he was recognised as a top 12 finalist for his “Pool Infra Red Sensor System” idea but did not go on to win the national award that year.

Kern’s 2016 winning entry idea aims to reduce the water wasted by sprinklers spraying obstacles such as fences, footpaths, sheds, driveways and clotheslines. The Smart Sprinkler’s spray range can be adjusted by the owner pacing out the boundary of where watering is required using a remote control which continuously sends out signals to the sprinkler. The sprinkler records the radius and distance and rotational angle, allowing the sprinkler arm to change the tilt angle to increase or decrease the spray range.

Judges comments: “Kern’s idea shows real creativity and smarts to address the important issue of water conservation,” says Origin’s littleBIGidea judge James O’Loghlin. “Kern’s submission was well thought out and demonstrated, and there is real potential for his idea to find a market if the technology and the costs stack up.”   


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