Past ASB Bright Sparks winners

02 September 2016 / Published in Tech & Innovation

Over the years of the ASB Bright Sparks competition, there have been a huge number of outstanding entries.

In anticipation of the closing of this year’s competition we wanted to share some of the past winners’ stories.

The wonderful thing about these stories is that the projects came out of the students solving real-life problems.

Aurelia Wilberforce

Aurelia’s invention is an alarm app that won’t turn off until you properly wake up; you have to complete one of two tasks to turn the sound off.

The alarm, dubbed Wakey Wakey, also has a unique sound made up of the 10 most annoying sounds in the world.

Aurelia Wilberforce, of Lincoln High School, was 13 when she entered Bright Sparks last year, taking out the Christchurch Best Concept junior award.

“ASB Bright Sparks was one of my most favourite things I have ever been part of and I am so pleased I took part,” she says.

Since entering Wakey Wakey in ASB Bright Sparks, she’s been busy refining her invention, adding new features and making it more user-friendly.

“ASB Bright Sparks gave me more motivation to continue with projects down the line of STEM, and to see it in a new light, perhaps something more than a hobby for me.”

Kerman Kohli

He’s still a teenager but his app has reached over a million downloads, and has over 100,000 active monthly users.

At age 14, Kerman designed The Homework App to organise his high school work; he went on to win an award at the 2014 ASB Bright Sparks competition.

“ASB Bright Sparks proved to be a crucial platform for me, as app development isn’t really something that is taught in schools yet,” explains Kerman.

“The level of support you get is amazing.

“Ross Petersen [ASB Bright Sparks founder] in particular is incredibly helpful. It’s not a case of just getting you to sign up and then leaving you alone – you get guidance and assistance throughout the entire competition.

“Overall, the experience has been really solid for my CV and gave me and my invention some great exposure.”

Kerman’s now finished school and has his sights set on attending an Ivy League college in the United States.

Nathan James

Wanting an easier way to get bulk food at the supermarket, Nathan invented iDispense – a smart bulk bin that allows grocery shoppers to dispense the exact amount of product they need.

“ASB Bright Sparks inspired me to develop an idea that incorporated electronics – it literally sparked my interest in electronics,” he says.

“The mentorship and access to components via the ASB Bright Sparks forum helped me take guided steps into an area I may not have ventured into. The support available to participants through the forum is incredibly encouraging.”

Nathan is currently refining iDispense in preparation of a test-run at a national supermarket.

Outside iDispense, Nathan has plenty to keep him busy – he’s set to enter this year’s ASB Bright Sparks competition with another idea.

Sophie Crispe

At 12 years old, Sophie won the 2015 ASB Bright Sparks competition with her brain injury tracking app.

After her mother suffered a brain injury and had to track her recovery on paper, Sophie saw the need for a more efficient system – so she decided to invent an online app.

The development of the app, My Brain Diary, involved consulting with an occupational therapist, a web design company and real patients.

“ASB Bright Sparks has encouraged me to think outside the box in terms of what can be entered in science competitions, and now I feel like I can give anything a go,” Sophie says.

ASB Bright Sparks

  • Open to New Zealand intermediate and secondary school students.
  • Entry categories this year include science, engineering, environment and software.
  • Entries opened on 2 May 2016 and close on 28 September 2016.
  • A share in a $10,000 prize pool is on offer for the winners.
  • The ASB Bright Sparks awards evening will take place on 1 November 2016 in The Cube at ASB North Wharf in Auckland. For finalists out of Auckland, travel costs for them and one parent are covered.

Find out more about Bright Sparks.


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