Teen innovators head to head for top science awards

From a glove which controls computers to bikes made from bamboo, the finalists in this years’ BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards cover a diverse range of science and engineering that can teach us all a little something about innovation.

The winners of the awards will be announced in Melbourne next week by the Chief Executive Officer of BHP Billiton, Andrew Mackenzie, and CSIRO Chief Executive, Megan Clark.

Ben Beagley from Victoria’s St Kevin’s College has been selected as a finalist in the awards for developing an organic light-weight bamboo bike.

Using the bamboo in his garage, Ben designed and constructed a cheaper alternative to the traditional bike that uses the strength and flexibility of bamboo to replace heavy, industrial metal components

Jake Coppinger from Canberra has come up with The Swirlesque, a wearable glove which allows the user to make natural gestures for human-computer interaction and perform actions.

Swirlesque detects hand gestures and acts upon them in intelligent ways such as controlling a music player on a smartphone, control a computer, a TV, a home media centre, or a light bulb.

Other finalists include an app to warn drivers of approaching emergency vehicles, removing nutrients and pollutants using wetland plants, and a forward facing rowing machine.

“Science will always be at the core of understanding how we address human, environmental and business challenges while engineering helps us find the way to do it,