Jorja Suga named a national finalist in competition for young inventors

Jorja Suga with her invention design. Picture: Chris Lane
Jorja Suga with her invention design. Picture: Chris Lane

Clancy Catholic College student Jorja Suga is a young inventor with a big idea that could see her win a trip to NASA in the United States.

The 12-year-old is a finalist in the annual littleBIGidea competition, run by Origin Energy for her Safety Smart Goggles idea to protect young swimmers.

The goggle design, which was conceived when she heard the concerning statistics on unsupervised drownings, features Bluetooth technology which sends an alert to the supervisor's phone if a child has been under water too long.

The smart chip is located in the nose bridge which is connected to an app to alert parents. The goggles also feature a mermaid as the side straps.

Jorja has been named as one of 12 national finalists in the competition from more than 1000 entries, with three winners to be announced later this month for a trip to NASA.

The year 7 student received a one-on-one mentoring session with Engineers Without Borders Australia to further evolve her idea and $1000 towards developing her invention. She will submit a final pitch video to be crowned Origin's littleBIGidea national winner in the grades 7-8 category. The other finalists in her category are ideas for a boosting cushion to help people out of chairs and beds, subtitle glasses for the movies and a SafeWaze sensor for the driveway.

Jorja Suga with year 7 coordinator Tiana Romao. Picture: Chris Lane

Jorja Suga with year 7 coordinator Tiana Romao. Picture: Chris Lane

A panel of three judges, which includes 18-year-old Macinley Butson, who was named NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2018, assessed the entries.

"The creativity, thoughtfulness and practicality of the ideas submitted this year has been phenomenal - it was tough to select the twelve finalists," she said.

"So many entries demonstrated extraordinary thinking, empathy for the community and care for our environment. Ideas focussed on healthcare, improving the lives of people with illness or disability, and technology advancements. I'm excited to see these budding young inventors continue to evolve their ideas and problem solving skills in the future."