AS a teen, Sid Duncan-Steele got a “lashing” for not cutting steel correctly, now he has won $10,000 for devising a solution to that problem.
The Bellbridge machine designer collected first prize in the 2018 Life Tech Challenge, a contest aimed at promoting innovation, on Thursday night.
Mr Duncan-Steele was hailed for his Manufacturing Mate, software that assists those cutting steel for machines.
It is applied to models created through computer-aided design, with a file emerging that a robot can then read to cut steel.
“It would take a human an hour to cut ten beams,” Mr Duncan-Steele said.
“My software will give you ten beams in 30 seconds and then you can put those into a robot to have it cut.”
Mr Duncan-Steele was partly inspired by his own experience as a steel fabricator at the age of 15.
“I’ve been the guy on the factory floor that cuts the steel the wrong way and gets a lashing,” he said.
The self-employed designer plans to put the $10,000 towards intellectual property costs for his invention.
Machines ranging from harvesters to hydro-electric plants stand to benefit from Manufacturing Mate, Mr Duncan-Steele believes.
The other finalists for the award were Damian Watson and Ashley Dunn.
The former developed a meditation app, while the latter is working on a money-saving app.
A rising star award, also announced on Thursday night, went to Wodonga’s Tim Hudson.
The apprentice heavy diesel mechanic, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, was recognised for his app aimed at boosting child safety.
It sends a message from a child’s smart phone to a loved one to alert them they are in danger and transmits their location to avoid confusion over their whereabouts.
Mr Hudson the oldest of eight children, aged five to 20, was inspired by his siblings to create the app which won him $2000.