Twelve of Australia’s brightest young inventors are one step closer to winning a $10,000 education and innovation grant after being selected as finalists from more than 2,000 entries in Origin’s Little Big Idea competition.

This year’s top 12 ideas include a foot-operated hand sanitiser machine; an app that connects people with helpers in their local community; a smart road signal for drivers when wildlife is ahead; and a recycled biodegradable bread-bag clip.      

Macinley Butson, Little Big Idea judge and former NSW Young Australian of the Year said, “I’m in awe of the creativity and thoughtfulness of the entries this year. Amid a worldwide pandemic, we have seen some inspiring ideas focused on improving people’s health and wellbeing in particular.

“So many entries demonstrated extraordinary thinking, empathy for others and care for our environment. I’m excited to see these budding young inventors continue to evolve their ideas and problem-solving skills in the future.”

Each finalist will receive $1,000 towards their education and one-on-one mentoring designed by Engineers Without Borders Australia to help evolve their idea. Three national winners will be awarded a $10,000 education and innovation grant.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria said, “Congratulations to all the students who entered Origin’s Little Big Idea this year and showed us their inventive spirit. The competition encourages Australian kids to explore their creative potential to solve real-world problems, and I am always impressed by the ideas we receive.”

Three national winners (one from each category: grade 3-4; grade 5-6; and grade 7-8) will be announced in mid-November. For further information, visit

Origin’s 2020 Little Big Idea top 12 finalists:


Grade 3-4

  • Kick-me pedestrian button: located at the bottom of traffic light poles, pedestrians can reduce the spread of germs by kicking the button instead of using their hands – Grace Howard (8) Malvern Primary School, VIC.
  • Neighbourhood Helper: an app that connects people with helpers in their local community to complete chores and favours – Mia Brebner (9) Emerald Primary School, VIC.
  • Clean Machine: a sanitiser system that dispenses hand sanitiser by using a foot-operated lever – Lucas Schuetze (8) Kings Christian College, QLD.
  • Wild-lifesaver: a smart road signal that alerts drivers when wildlife is ahead, protecting animals and drivers from injury – Rebekka Simcox (9) Auburn South Primary School, VIC.


Grade 5-6

  • Emoti-watch: helps autistic children to communicate emotional distress using emoticons – Hannah Sistrom (11) Ermington West Public School, NSW.
  • U-Aware: a device in cars to detect fatigue and distraction in drivers, providing alerts to pull over – Kelsey Dillon (12) Keithcot Farm Primary School, SA.
  • Read Function: supports hearing-impaired students in class by translating voice-to-text on personal devices – Indiana Maguire (10) St Andrews Malabar, NSW.
  • Bread-saver: an improved bread-bag clip made from biodegradable recycled cardboard – Claire Hinchliffe (10) Holy Cross Kincumber, NSW.


Grade 7-8

  • Safety Sound: smart tech that alerts drivers approaching school zones to slow down – Abigail Van Ballegooyen (12) Merici College, ACT.
  • Band-mate: a colour-changing Band-Aid that detects wound infections based on skin temperature – Akshay Kumaran Sundaram (13) Vermont Secondary College, VIC.
  • Kid-friendly hearing aid: a hearing aid for kids that can be paired with tech devices – Caitlyn Whitbread (13) Kirrawee High School, NSW.
  • Allergy Alerter: a watch that detects allergens and alerts wearers, preventing allergic reactions and anaphylaxis – Kaylee Clancy (12) Glen Osmond Primary, SA.


Sophie Kostov
Mobile: +61 410 426 729