Great invention to help the elderly and disabled.

Thomas James (a student at Burnside High School)  has created a device that takes your wheelie bin to the curb for you and is a finalist in the ASB Bright Sparks Awards.

In it’s 20th year, the ASB Bright Sparks programme is New Zealand’s top competition for young inventors. Encompassing all areas of modern technology, it’s the most diverse technology competition in New Zealand. ASB Bright Sparks welcomes entries from more than just electronics and includes inventions with a focus on software, the environment, science, engineering and robotics.

The robot that Thomas has invented does all the dirty work for you. Powered by an Arduino Mega, the device connects to the wheelie bin, mimicking a human, and pulls the bin out and takes it to the curb using a pre-programmed route.

Vote for Thomas and his invention here


What inspired you to create your project?

My elderly neighbour was told by her doctor that she wasn’t allowed to take the bin out to the road anymore, because it would be too much of a risk for her. I also thought of my grandparents, who have a bach in the Coromandel. When they take their bin out and then return home after their holiday, they will now be able to leave and not worry about the bin staying out the whole time.


What is your dream job?

I would like to keep on creating and doing what I enjoy, putting stuff together and breaking it apart.


What is the best thing about the ASB Bright Sparks competition to you?

It’s the contacts you make that are really valuable and being able to head along to the awards and show off what you have been doing. I got to know Les Black from ASB Bright Sparks and have gotten a lot of support. ASB Bright Sparks can help you with future creations and give you advice when you are struggling.