Competition heats up for Bendigo Inventor Awards

QUICK-setting bricks, protective beehives and a phone application that tells you what’s Australian-made are among the ideas to come from the local entries in the Bendigo Inventor Awards.

The field for tomorrow’s awards night has been narrowed to 20 finalists, out of 100 entries.

The Inventor Awards competition was launched with a $25,000 prize pool to find the best innovative ideas and practical creations.

In the running for the major award is Jean-Pierre Mercader, who has designed a modified beehive board to deter the threat of varroa mites. Mr Mercader moved to Sutton Grange 10 years ago and took up beekeeping.

He said he had been working on his modified board idea for about four years in a bid to prevent the destruction varroa mites had caused to bee populations around the world. 

“Beekeepers have tried all sorts of devices. They haven’t succeeded,” he said. 

“The idea behind the invention is to helps bees to be more efficient, to hunt and eject from the hive, through the slots... it should prevent the parasites getting into the hive.” 

Laurie Sansom is hoping his creation of fast-setting bricks could help people build houses in a more efficient way.

The Bendigo resident has been working on the mobile automatic earthbrick press for about 20 years.

He said that with the brick press, enough bricks to build a house could be made within two days.

“It comes out of the press ready to lay on the wall,” Mr Sansom said.

“The device helps with labour costs, you can basically make all the bricks on site. They don’t shrink and they’ve got thermal qualities, which helps with heating and cooling.”

Making local products and consuming Australian-made goods was the inspiration for a smart phone application that determines what produce is locally made and owned.

Bendigo teacher Coral Maxwell said she had the idea for the Locate Australia app at the supermarket.

“The original idea came out of frustration of going to buy groceries and wanting to buy Australian produce.

“It’s difficult to find out for sure, so we created a website that lists products on whether they’re Australian made, Australian-owned and Australian produce.”

“I think a lot of consumers want to buy Australian products and find it confusing to know for sure. This works with businesses to help them.”

She said it would be amazing to win, and it would help her market the app and get more businesses listed through the website.

Mr Mercader said the prize would be a huge boost to raise the product’s profile.

“The fact that I’m a finalist is fantastic. If I was a winner it would be a great honour.” 

City of Greater Bendigo business development manager Peter Jeffery said entries had come from Australia, Chile, Thailand and India.

The awards night is on at the Bendigo Town Hall tomorrow from 6-9pm. More than three-quarters of the free tickets have been taken, but seats can still be reserved by calling 5434 6100.

Jean-Pierre Mercader has designed a modified beehive board. Picture: FAIRFAX

Jean-Pierre Mercader has designed a modified beehive board. Picture: FAIRFAX


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