Three of Australia’s brightest young inventors will each be awarded $10,000 after being named national winners of Origin’s Little Big Idea competition.

Selected from more than 2,000 entries, the winning ideas have been awarded for their creativity by a panel of experts including biomedical engineer and inventor, Dr Jordan Nguyen; former NSW Young Australian of the Year, Macinley Butson, and Tony Lucas, Origin’s head of Future Energy and Technology.

2020 national Little Big Idea winners:

·         Grade 3 – 4: Grace Howard (8) Malvern Primary School, VIC

Grace’s ‘Kick-me pedestrian button’ is located at the bottom of traffic light poles, so pedestrians can kick the button instead of using their hands, helping to reduce the spread of germs. Grace was inspired when she noticed people doing high-kicks at pedestrian crossings during COVID-19. Grace’s video submission can be viewed here.

·         Grade 5 – 6: Indiana Maguire (10) St Andrew’s Primary School Malabar, NSW

Indiana’s ‘Read Function’ supports hearing-impaired students in class by translating voice-to-text on personal devices. It records what other students in the classroom say to the teacher via a microphone. The idea was inspired by Indiana’s own hearing impairment and her struggle to understand classroom discussions. Indiana’s video submission can be viewed here.

·         Grade 7 – 8: Abigail Van Ballegooyen (12) Merici College, ACT

Abigail’s ‘Safety Sound’ is designed to make school zones safer for children. It uses Bluetooth technology to send a voice alert to drivers’ mobiles, reminding them to slow down as they approach a school zone. The idea was inspired by Abigail’s own research into school zone accidents. Abigail’s video submission can be viewed here.

“This year’s winning ideas show a great level of innovation and practical thinking to make the world a better place,” Dr Nguyen said. “The future is bright for these changemakers of tomorrow who have demonstrated thoughtfulness and imagination through Origin’s Little Big Idea.”

The competition encourages Australian kids to explore their creative potential to solve real-world problems. Since launching in 2014, Origin’s Little Big Idea has received more than 10,000 entries, recognised more than 80 finalists and awarded 21 national winners, providing more than $270,000 in prizes.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria said, “Congratulations to the winners and to all of the students who entered Origin’s Little Big Idea this year and showed us their inventive spirit. I am always impressed by the ideas we receive, and it was particularly great this year to see so many entries attempting to solve real life problems, such as how to protect communities during the pandemic.”

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Sophie Kostov
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