Third Place - Middle School, International

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities

2023 Youth Design Challenge

This design concept was developed by participants in the Institute’s Youth Design Challenge. The descriptions below are from the team’s competition entry materials.

School: Carrum Primary School
Location: Victoria, Australia
Coach: Marcus Mulcahy
Team members: Eamon Parry, Jude Beeching, Kate Melnik, Lily Scoble, Mackenzie McGill, Matilda Beitzel, Matt Donato, Milla Cormack

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Innovation Details

What is the problem your team solved for this challenge? What is the problem addressed? How is the problem connected to the selected SDG?

Our community has a problem with rubbish washing down our local waterway, Patterson River, out into Port Phillip Bay and then onto Carrum Beach (especially following storms). The ‘Bird of Prey’ drone is designed specifically to help solve this problem. The ‘Bird of Prey’s’ capacity to spot the tiniest of plastics, scoop it in to its stretchy beak from the surface of Patterson River will help reduce the potential for small plastics harming our marine life but also keep our beautiful Carrum Beach free from rubbish.

How was your solution inspired by nature? What (at least two) organisms did you learn from? How effectively did you combine the biological strategies for the final design?

We were inspired by a local family of Pelicans and their capacity to scoop up fish from our local waterways with their large stretchy beak. Using the Pelican beak as our inspiration we designed a drone with a scooper mouth that would collect small plastics from Patterson River. The need to spot small pieces of rubbish was crucial and we were inspired by our local Tawny Frogmouth that has enhanced vision to spot the tiniest of creatures. Our drone needed protection from water damage, so the Lotus Flower Leaf that repels water from its surface, was used in our design.

What does your design solution do? How does it solve or mitigate the problem you selected? How did what you learn inform your design?

Our ‘Bird of Prey’ drone is designed to help keep our precious local waterway, Patterson River, free of rubbish. The ‘Bird of Prey’ will scout the river and when it spots rubbish (especially small plastics) the controller will fly the drone down and “scoop up” rubbish in the pelican designed beak. The rubbish will be stored in the stomach of the ‘Bird of Prey’. When it’s full, the drone will return to home base where the rubbish will be sorted into recyclables and landfill waste.