ME Program Students Shine in Seed3D Competition

RDA Hunter's ME Program Seed3D Competition invited school students to design 'new to market' inventions for production using 3D printing technology

WHAT began as primary schooler Ella Findlay’s entry in a 3D printing competition has ended with judges recommending she patent what could be a world first concept.

The Barnsley Public School prefect is the designer behind The Life Saver, a device worn around the neck that responds to sound and movement by flashing, vibrating and beeping.

“The teachers helped us think of something that would help people,” Ella, 11, said.

“I thought deaf and blind people would need help if there was an emergency or something happening.”

The innovative device would be able to be programmed to respond to certain voices, emergency vehicle sirens, a fire alarm, or when motion sensors are activated outside a home.

“But it can also let other people know if there was a shopping centre evacuation, for example, that the wearer is someone who needs help to be safe.”

Ella was one of 60 students from 20 Hunter schools to enter her design in RDA Hunter ME Program’s Seed3D competition, which was intended to increase the use of 3D printing and engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths.

Judges including Me3D Printers CEO Matt Connelly crowned Lachlan Cooke from Maitland High School the eventual winner for his design that prevents shoelaces from becoming untied.

Ella and four other girls received highly commended awards - and a 3D model of their design.

Barnsley teacher Jake Sawyer said Mr Connelly was “almost shocked” at Ella’s idea.

“He suggested patenting the idea he was so blown away,” Mr Sawyer said.

“The designs have to be original and he looked into devices just like this and couldn’t find anything that existed similar to this or did the same job.

“He recognised there would definitely be a market for it and while it looks like a simple thing, it could save a life.”

Ella’s mum Tracey said the family was “thinking about” patenting and investigating the process.

“I was really surprised,” Ella said about the suggestion.

“I did not think it was that big a deal –  I did not know it was the only one of its type out there.”

Ella is a member of the school debating team and had previously considered studying law. “Now all this has happened I think I want to go into designing.”


View Ella on YouTube