Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Skills Bright Sparks 2019 Winners Announced

Skills Bright Sparks 2019 Winners Announced

An app that helps kick teens out of the shower, a scanner that ‘reads’ colours and an app that helps towards
suicide prevention – top the awards for 2019

An app that allows parents and siblings of wayward teens to eject them from the shower and a scanner that helps the visually impaired to ‘read’ colours are the two overall award-winning inventions in this year’s Skills Bright Sparks competition.

Skills Bright Sparks is New Zealand’s longest running national competition for young inventors, open to intermediate and high school-aged students. It receives entries from across a broad spectrum of digital, engineering and creative technologies with projects from apps and gadgets, to experiments and revolutionary machines.

The Waterwise shower app, which enables parents (or grumpy siblings) to cut showers short – as well as provide a clear idea of water usage in households – won Cashmere High School Year 13 student Adam Smith of Christchurch the Skills Bright Sparks Overall Best Male Award.

Smith says he created his Waterwise shower app after he and his family became frustrated with his sister taking long showers. “The family gets tired of waiting for her,” says Adam. “But the app also provides parents with a tool to control the amount of water used by the shower. So that provides insights on the impact that water and shower usage have on the environment.”

Year 8 student Agam Aharon, from Ponsonby Intermediate in Auckland, was named Skills Bright Sparks Overall Best Female Award winner for her Spectro Scanner, a device that can be used to ‘read’ colours to people who are visually impaired or colour blind.

Aharon says she was inspired by the special needs children her mother works with: “I thought of a way that I could help these children’s lives be a bit easier.” The Spectro Scanner can be used to read out the colours of different items, such as items of clothing.

As part of their prize, Aharon and Smith will receive a personalised tour of Skills Bright Sparks’ sponsor Rocket Lab’s mission control facility – and the opportunity to witness a ‘hotfire’ test of its Rutherford rocket engines.

The popular People’s Choice Award was won by Angelina Yang from Northcross Intermediate in Auckland. The competition’s youngest 2019 winner – at just 12 – Angelina designed a Table Tennis Serving Machine from Lego that allows her to practice when no one else is able to train with her.

A Special Award for Health & Wellbeing was also awarded to Will Waters from Otumoetai College for his app Lifeboat – designed to help those who suffer from depression or anxiety to build up the courage to ask for help. Waters designed the app because he himself suffers from anxiety and he wanted to do something to address New Zealand’s high suicide rate.

This year, a third of the Skills Bright Sparks finalists were female, which is a great indication says Skills Group CEO Garry Fissenden, that more girls are seeing STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects as no longer solely the domain of the boys.

“We think this is really exciting,” says Fissenden. “Of those who then placed in our awards for 2019, just under half were female. That’s a real indication that girls are recognising how exciting STEM subjects can be and that there are some great career options there for them.”

This year, the judges also noticed that a large number of entries were very clearly focused on addressing environmental concerns.
“It was evident that many of our students are focused on solutions to issues that impact our environment. It does suggest that the health of our planet is a major concern for Kiwi youth.”
The winners were announced at the Skills Bright Sparks awards ceremony at Datacom in Auckland on Thursday 7 November. Sponsors of the Skills Bright Sparks competition included Rocket Lab, ASB, Datacom, Shift, NZ Print, Microsoft and NZTE.


WINNERS
Overall Best FemaleAgam Aharon, Ponsonby Intermediate School (Year 8): Spectro Scanner
Overall Best MaleAdam Smith, Cashmere High School (Year 13): Waterwise App

People’s Choice AwardAngelina Yang, Northcross Intermediate (Year 7): Table Tennis serving machine made from Lego

Top Junior Bright SparkJames Avenell, Alexandra Primary School (Year 8): Weed Killing Robot
Top Senior Bright Spark – Bert Downs, Te Awamutu College (Year 12): Extend Virtual Reality

SPECIAL AWARDS
Special Award: Health & Wellbeing – Will Waters, Otumoetai College (Year 10) : Lifeboat app for encouraging those with depression or anxiety to seek help
Special Award: Outstanding EngineeringAngelina Yang, Northcross Intermediate (Year 7): Table Tennis serving machine made from Lego
Special Award: RoboticsThomas James, Burnside High School (Year 12): Wheelie Drive v.2
Special Award: SoftwareBrian Kitchen, Western Springs College (Year 10): Raspberry Fly, 3D scanner for modelling caves
Special Award: Originality Matthew Shepherd, Taradale High School (Year 13): Scratch Pack automated back scratcher to alleviate back pain.
Emerging PotentialJasmine Jared, Rangitoto College (Year 10): eBackpack

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Paymark: Lockdown Equals Slowdown For Some

The three days of lockdown for Auckland earlier this month made a clear impression on our retail spending figures. While only Auckland moved into Level 3 lockdown, the impact was felt across the country, albeit at different levels. Looking at the ... More>>

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>

Sci-Tech: Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars – Expert Reaction

NASA has landed a car-sized rover on the red planet to search for signs of past life. The vehicle has more instruments than the four rovers preceding it, and it’s also carrying gear that could help pave the way for human exploration of Mars. The ... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: Quarterly Economic Forecast Predicts OCR Hike As Early As August 2022

Predictions of interest rate rises have been brought forward 12 months in ASB’s latest Quarterly Economic Forecast. Chief Economist Nick Tuffley now expects the RBNZ to begin raising the OCR from its current level of 0.25% as early as August ... More>>

ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>

OECD: Unemployment Rate Stable At 6.9% In December 2020, 1.7 Percentage Points Higher Than In February 2020

The OECD area unemployment rate was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market. [1] In December, the unemployment rate was also stable ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As Employment Picks Up

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in the December 2020 quarter, from 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Last quarter’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent followed the largest increase observed ... More>>