Australia’s most innovative student inventors compete at SAP’s Young ICT Explorers Competition 

Australia’s top student inventors have been revealed following the national final of the Young ICT Explorers competition. Inventions aimed at changing the world took centre stage, ranging from an app that helps people living with dementia to sustainability sensors designed to stop climate change.

Australia’s top children inventors have been announced following the national final of SAP’s Young ICT Explorers competition at Taronga Zoo, Sydney. Now in its 10th year, the not-for-profit competition is open to schools across the country, with categories for kids from Year 3 (8-9 years old) all the way up to Year 12 (17-18).

Throughout 2019, students have presented their projects and “pitched” their ideas to judges at regional and state competitions which have taken place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Auckland, before the national final on Saturday 7 December in Sydney.

“It’s amazing to see some of the inspirational inventions these kids are coming up with. Not only are they trying to solve some incredibly difficult issues from dementia to climate change, they also demonstrate an impressive array of skills like coding, robotics and engineering. These are exactly the types of skills that will be essential for the workforce of the future,” said Pete Andrew, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Australia.

“We’re proud to work with so many schools from across the country to show how technology can have a positive impact on the world. We hope to inspire the next generation of coders and scientists, inventors and developers, by showing that working with tech can be fun and also help to solve real-world problems,” continued Mr Andrew.

This year, more than 1,200 kids from across Australia have taken part in the YICTE competition. For the first time in ten years, half the entries were from female students. The program is supported by several universities including UNSW, Deakin University, Queensland University, University of South Australia, and James Cook University. Additional partners include CSIRO, the Australian Computer Society and The Smith Family charity.

More than 50 winners of every age-category from each roadshow event competed at the national final, judged by tech experts from universities, government and business. Below you can see a selection of some of the winners and runners up.

The national winners include:

MemoryBuddy – Year 3-4 category. Created by Lucas Buchanan, 11, Bondi Public School, NSW

  • MemoryBuddy is a voice app designed to help people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It features 2x parts – one, a voice activated app to be used by dementia suffers – with the other, a portal for carers to input personalised care plans into (which are then accessed through the voice app).
  • Inspired by his grandfather who lives with dementia, Lucas set out to create an app that uses smart-speakers (e.g. a Google Home speaker) to give people living with dementia regular reminders about their day-to-day tasks. The app can also ‘introduce’ people, for example family members, to help individuals with dementia recognise who they are speaking to.

Aquerator – Year 5-6 category. Created by Lawson Gallup, Gabrielle Simcox, 13, Auburn South Primary School, VIC

  • Inspired by some of this year’s tragic pictures of dead fish in the Darling-Murray river, Aquerator is a mobile self-sustaining water aerator robot, designed to aerate stagnant river systems by providing oxygen to dying fish.
  • The robot, which is solar powered, is also a solution to algae detection.

Bin It Right – Waste Management App – Year 9-10 category, Lucy Lonnqvist, Poppy Briggs, St Mary’s Anglican Girls School, WA

  • Bin It Right aims to solve the problem of improper waste disposal with its unique photo recognition feature. This feature allows users to simply take a photo of the item they are unsure what bin it belongs in, and the app then scans the image, and indicates whether the item belongs in the green, waste or recycling bin.
  • The intention is that every time people use Bin It Right, they become increasingly sustainable and recycle more, to help minimise the level of landfill and pollution in Australia.

Runners up include:

Bullying? Be Smart, Don’t Start – Year 3-4 category. Created by Jessica Schutz and Eloise Crocker, 11, Ryan Catholic College, QLD

  • To stop cyberbullying, Jessica and Eloise created an online game to help teach kids to be nice to each other online.
  • The game works by teaching players the difference between nice and nasty words, so that they use positive language when they are online.

 Handi-CAB – Year 7-8 category. Created by Ethan Schutz and Charlie Crocker, Ryan Catholic College, QLD

  • Handi-Carry-A-Bag (Handi-CAB) is a robot designed to help people who are unable to carry heavy bags. It is controlled through a mobile phone app.
  • Inspired by some of their friends at school who have disabilities which mean they are unable to carry their backpacks, they hope the robot can help elderly or disabled people across the world.

Drive Safe Key Box – Year 9-10 category. Created by Ryan Xie and Jake Aronleigh, Aerobotics Global after-school club, VIC

  • The Drive-Safe Keybox is a compact key-box with a built-in breathalyser, where keys can be easily stored.
  • To help prevent and discourage drink driving, the box contains an alcohol detector that physically restricts access to the keys if the breath-test is over the limit. This aims to stop people from driving while intoxicated, without compromising the convenience and compactness of a car key.

A full list of state winners and runners up can be found here.