A Queensland schoolboy is heading to NASA after his proposal to build watches for colourblind people won a national science competition.
Ten-year-old Hamish Lane who lives on the Gold Coast came up with the idea to help his younger brother, Kurt.
“He is colourblind in red and green and I thought there might be a better way to help him and other people around the world too,” Hamish said.
The St Vincent’s Primary School student has designed how he imagines the watch could work.
“It has an inbuilt colour detection sensor,” he said.
“So inbuilt colour, and when you point the watch at an object, it displays the colour in words on the screen.”
Hamish entered his idea into the Little Big Idea competition, which asked students in grades three to eight to come up with an invention.
He was announced as the grade three and four winner in front of his classmates, family, teachers at a surprise school assembly on Wednesday morning.
“I was really excited. I was shocked. I didn’t know it was coming,” Hamish said.
‘Simple, elegant solution’ says expert
Biomedical engineer and inventor Jordan Nguyen was at the school to announce Hamish as the winner.
Dr Nguyen said he was impressed by the simplicity of Hamish’s invention.
“It is very easy to come up with a complex solution to something and to make any idea more complicated as you go along,” he said.
“What is difficult is making a solution simple and elegant, and that’s exactly what this is.”
Dr Nguyen believes Hamish’s watch idea could have a big future.
“It is actually very viable, with the cost of sensors today, to make an inexpensive, small watch that can detect colour,” he said.
He also said he was impressed with the purpose of Hamish’s idea.
“I think it is very inspiring to see people design something for people around them,” he said.
Hamish’s father Daniel Lane said he was pleased to see his son inspired by the science competition.
“We are very proud of all the hard work that he has put in,” he said.
“It has been great to see him inspired and motivated.
“It has got him really motivated into science and just thinking about things from a different perspective.”
Hamish is yet to find out when he will be visiting NASA.