Winners of 2017 Bendigo Inventor Awards announced

Two local men have won categories in this year’s Bendigo Inventor Awards, but it is a teenager from New South Wales who has claimed the big prize.

At Monday night’s ceremony Nigel Wright was named winner of the product and prototype category for the Mediklean 3-in-1, a product that washes, disinfects and dries hands without the need to touch anything, preventing the spread of bacteria and germs.

The mayoral award for ‘Backyard Tinkerer’ went to Mike Bellamy, who developed the elastomeric helicopter lag hinge bush, a part for the articulated rotor head in helicopters which, unlike existing steel parts, is made from fibre reinforced plastic and is designed to last the lifetime of the airframe.

Read more: Inventor awards celebrating innovation

But the $10,000 major prize in the Bendigo Inventor Awards went to 17-year-old Michael Giglio, who designed a smartphone-based invention named Emergency Vehicle In Transit, or EVITA.

EVITA is an app that connects to an iBeacon installed in emergency vehicles, which is activated by the lights and sirens to alert the phone user to the presence of emergency vehicles in their area.

Michael came up with the idea when waiting at the bus stop, having seen traffic blocking the exit of the fire engines from the neighbouring station and trucks having to screech to a halt because of pedestrians failing to let them pass before crossing roads.

The awards also attracted entries from overseas, with Ukrainian Liliya Borovets winning the concept category for the Peak-A-Box, a three-in-one educational kit designed to help teachers provide quality early childhood education to children in humanitarian emergencies.

Read more: Finding innovative solutions for emergency services

Bendigo Inventor Awards chairman Paul Chapman said the city’s reputation as a hub for innovation was growing.

“Bendigo has all the elements for innovative ideas to thrive: a supportive business community that encourages innovative ideas, world-class education providers, a strong manufacturing industry and access to co-working spaces,” Mr Chapman said.

The awards have a focus on emergency services and disaster management, although the ‘Backyard Tinkerer’ category is open to inventions of all kinds.