AN EARLY warning system protecting properties from bushfires is being developed by budding Bendigo engineers.
The idea is one of six to be refined by secondary school students using sensor technology in a bid to make Bendigo better and safer.
One Bendigo South East College group's prototype would alert people to an encroaching bushfire and was inspired by several students' personal experiences.
"Leading into summer, fires are a big thing in Victoria. There's been fires near where I used to live in Castlemaine," year 10 student Tom Spencer said.
His group wanted to help cut the time it took for firefighters to reach a blaze.
"We are kind of tossing up at the moment about whether this is for governments, farmers, homeowners, that sort of thing," Tom said.
Fellow BSE student Sam Scholtens was helping develop a sensor that could send out alerts when cyclists fell from bikes and could not get back up.
"It sends an emergency notification to a contact or maybe an emergency service saying you are unable to get on your feet again," the year nine student said.
The idea was inspired by a bike fall last year, in which Sam was forced to walk through "the middle of nowhere" with a broken arm.
"There was no-one there. I had to walk back (to a campground). It wasn't great," he said.
"So it's a very personal thing. It's just nice to maybe help out other cyclists if they get hurt."
The prototype could include a sensor noting when a bike tipped on its side after a sudden bump, Sam said.
The inaugural design competition was being run by the Bendigo Tech School and Thales, which both said they wanted to nurture Victoria's future leaders.
"Applying design thinking and the latest tech to 'real-world' issues in partnership with industry, gives young people the skills and experience they need to be successful in the future work place," tech school director Graeme Wiggins said.
Students were working with Thales designers and engineers, as well as other industry experts, to refine and test their ideas.
That included with Thales graduate program members Natasha Bartholomeusz and Jordan Gleeson.
"There is a much higher level of innovation here than I expected," Mr Gleeson said.
"We were able to give them a little experience of what it was like to pitch to a panel before they had to start working on their real, big pitch."
The graduate members were also giving students an industry perspective on costs, elements and ideas that might not have been thought of yet.
"A few of the ideas have really connected with me," Ms Bartholomeusz said.
"Their understanding makes you think 'wow, this can actually have an impact and help with critical moments to save or improve people's lives'."
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