MIkayla Stokes saw a problem and tried to solve it. Photo / Doug Sherring


An automated vegetable garden and a wheelie bin that takes itself to the curb have given their inventors the top award in the ASB Bright Sparks competition.

Overall female winner Mikayla Stokes’ vertical garden is controlled through a smartphone app and watered by an automated control tank that maintains nutrient levels. All the growers have to do is plant their desired vegetable and harvest them when the app tells them they are ready.

“No one has any backyard space to have a vegetable garden anymore,” the Western Springs College pupil said. “A lot of us are too busy, or don’t have the knowledge of how to look after a garden. I wanted to make an innovative solution that addressed these problems.”

Top male winner Thomas James, of Burnside High School in Christchurch, was inspired by his elderly neighbour to make a device to take a bin to the road.

“She wasn’t allowed to take the bin to the road anymore because it would be too much of a risk for her.”

Thomas’ invention connects to the bin and takes it to the curb following a pre-programmed route.

Thomas and Mikayla also placed first and second overall in the senior hardware engineering section, followed by Tim Cheng and Alex Zhuang’s 3D printer.

The other winners were:

Senior software engineering: Eric Song, 1; Hsih (Vincent) Lee, 2; Emma Hoga, 3.

Thomas James was inspired by his elderly neighbour to create a wheelie bin mover. Photo / Doug Sherring

Special applicaitons: Mikayla Stokes (Agritech), Pieter Douglas (Design innovation), Bastien Gelin (home technologies), Genevieve Cartmell, (health and wellbeing),  Emma Hogan and MacKenzie Parker (best application mobile), Angus Lynch (best video production), Bert Downs (Bright Spark Emerging Potential).

Junior Hardware engineering: Kate McIntosh, Genevieve Cartmell, 1; Alia Cauty, 2; Oscar McCartney, 3.

Junior software engineering, Zel Healy, 1; Alia Cauty, 2; Maia Cully, 3.

Source: YUDU


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