The country’s bright young sparks are being invited to enter their best idea for their share of $10,000 in prizes.
Entries for ASB Bright Sparks Competition open on Monday.
Now in its 20th year, ASB Bright Sparks is New Zealand’s longest running national competition for young inventors, open to intermediate and high-school-aged students. A key initiative of Skills, the largest industry training organisation in the country, the competition showcases New Zealand’s young emerging creative and entrepreneurial talent in electronics and digital technologies.
Skills chief executive Garry Fissenden says competition seems to get stronger every year.
“Over the years we’ve been blown away by students’ projects and the level of innovation they’ve shown. Many of our former Bright Sparkers have gone on to have successful careers in robotics, tech, engineering and software development. This competition gets students thinking about their future and equips them with skills that will help them reach their goals.”
Some former Bright Sparks finalists and winners are now working with organisations such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook and ASB.
More than 1200 brilliant youngsters from across New Zealand are expected to enter this year,
ASB has been involved in the competition for three years now and head of innovation and commercialisation Leigh Angus encouraged parents to help their children enter.
“Each year we are blown away by the creative thinking that goes into the entries,” Angus says. “Children are enthusiastic, imaginative, hardworking, and creative – characteristics that all good inventors share.”
Categories this year include hardware engineering, software engineering, People’s Choice, special application awards and overall male and female categories.
To enter, students fill in a short from via the Bright Sparks website and submit a video that demonstrates their project and details the technical elements. Fissenden says many of the students’ inventions are clever solutions for challenges they come across in their day-to-day life.
“Last year’s Supreme winners included 12-year-old Kate McIntosh from Northcross Intermediate in Auckland, who created a wireless whistle to help hearing-impaired athletes play team sports and 13-year-old Brian Kitchen from Ponsonby Intermediate in Auckland, who was also named Supreme Innovator after inventing a laser scanner that creates 3D models of lava caves. It’s truly inspiring what New Zealand’s future leaders are creating.”
An expert panel of judges will assess each of the entries and select the finalists, who will then come to Auckland for an awards ceremony on November 1.
Young inventors can register their ideas now and the top 100 ideas will receive a starter kit, jam packed with goodies before the competition launches on September 10.