Three Sunshine Coast teenagers have created an award-winning design prototype aimed at making life easier for the elderly and disabled.
Matthew Flinders Anglican College Year 9 students Tyler Cuttill, Amy Morrison and Bethany Slocombe won the gen[in] Student Innovation Challenge at the University of Queensland.
They pitched The Orbital Caddy, a rotating shelf system, to judging panels at the final awards ceremony.
Their prototype was designed during Flinders Innovation Club, a college co-curricular program to inspire and challenge students with a passion for design.
They are also preparing for the finals of the Telstra Innovation Awards.
As finalists, they received four mentoring sessions with entrepreneurs and industry experts, to develop their idea and prepare their final pitch at the awards ceremony on July 14.
The Telstra Innovation Awards is delivered exclusively to high schools on the Sunshine Coast, as a partnership between the Sunshine Coast Council, Telstra and Study Sunshine Coast.
It aims to help students learn practical skills and knowledge development specific to the start-up, entrepreneur and technological space.
About The Orbital Caddy
The Orbital Caddy is a rotating shelf system, inspired by the ferris wheel amusement ride, and partly constructed with recycled plastics to tackle environmental waste.
The design aims to solve a problem for people who have trouble accessing shelving, such as older people and those who are in wheelchairs or suffer from back pain.
Bethany said the team worked through the design-thinking process to design the caddy prototype, with the first step of the process focused on empathy.
“Last year, we noticed some people aren’t able to easily reach up to access stored items in shelves in their homes and workplaces without the risk of injury,” she said.
“This lack of access inhibits their sense of independence and confidence and can be dangerous if items up high cannot be accessed safely.”
Tyler said the design prototype for The Orbital Caddy could help a variety of people.
“(It) allows the elderly, people in wheelchairs, visually-impaired people and anyone who generally struggles to access items that are being stored to do so without the risk of injury,” he said.
“Even children will benefit from our idea.”
Environmental sustainability was also a consideration with containers designed to be made out of reused PLA plastic, the cupboard out of wood and the track out of PLA.
Amy said their design prototype was unusual.
“There are some ideas similar to ours that exist but they’re only available for use in areas like industrial workshops and are not aesthetically pleasing nor environmentally conscious,” she said.
“Ours, however, can be used by anyone anywhere and the prototype is sustainable and innovative to address issues of waste and support our planet’s health.”
Flinders Head of Design and Technologies, Natalle Sutton, said it was rewarding to see students choosing to join the Innovation Club in their spare time to explore real-world design opportunities.
She said the club has been offered for more than two years as part of the college’s extensive co-curricular program.“We want to encourage our students to explore projects that matter to them and challenge them to work through the design thinking cycle to achieve an outcome,” she said. “Students are having a lot of fun while also developing valuable life and study skills such as collaboration, teamwork, empathy, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.”
Like stories about Sunshine Coast people doing great things? Help us deliver more by registering for our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article.