St Mark’s Anglican student could be blasting off to NASA


Tom Weston has designed a solar powered composter. Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au   d460941
Tom Weston has designed a solar powered composter. Picture: Bruce Hunt        www.communitypix.com.au d460941

TOM Weston’s (13) bright idea could see the Hillarys student blast off to NASA.

The budding inventor from St Mark’s Anglican Community School has |entered his “solar-powered compost tumbler” idea into the national littleBIGidea competition that aims to foster creativity and innovation in students from Years 3 to 8.

Tom is now in the running to win an innovation trip, including a visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

MORE: Brothers Kiel and Martin Tilley happy to be back at St Mark’s Anglican Community School

The Year 7 student’s entry is a solar-powered computer-based compost tumbler with a touch screen that automatically spins.

“I came up with the idea because one of my chores is to spin my mum’s compost tumbler,” he said.

“This chore was a real struggle when it was full and heavy to spin. I thought that for compost to decompose, it uses the heat from the sun, so why don’t I get the sun to spin it as well, through solar power.

Having a solar tumbler would enable elderly or disabled people who couldn’t spin a regular tumbler to recycle food scraps instead of throwing them into landfills.”

The device is connected to water, adding moisture to the compost to start the breakdown of food scraps.

His idea would promote a healthier environment and reduce Australia’s landfill, with the automated technology making daily lives easier.

St Mark’s head of science Kelly Nebel said the competition was an opportunity for students to share and test an idea that they think would make a difference to the world.

“It is important for our students to gain experience in the way that ‘real’ scientists work to develop ideas, and this competition provided the perfect opportunity to do just that,” she said.

The judging panel, led by former host of ABC’s The New Inventors, James O’Loghlin, said he was impressed with the calibre of this year’s entries and the competition was a “fantastic way for kids to explore, experiment, think up ideas and create a new invention”.

“We’re looking for creative ideas that demonstrate originality, practicality, imagination and innovation,” he said.

The top four inventions in each of the three age groups (years 3-4, years 4-5 and years 7-8) will win a minimum of $1000 in prizes for their inventor and $500 for their school.

The national winner judged to have the best invention in each of the three age categories will win an innovation trip.

Winners will be announced on October 26.