Emily's winning idea came to her as she sat on the bus, making her way to swimming practice.
"I was looking at the cars around me and saw 5 drivers on their phones making calls, texting or on social media. At a stop light, the car in front of us didn't even move once the light turned green!"
Emily had identified a problem: driver distraction, heightened by today's smart phone addicts. If phones can distract people at stop lights, Emily thought, how much damage can they do on the roads? And what can be done to stop this.
This experience on the bus led to Emily from Otumoetai College brainstorming ways to solve the problem. She came up with the Pressurised Steering Wheel.
The Pressurise Steering Wheel is a cover that detects when there isn't enough pressure on the driver's steering wheel, alerting the distracted driver to get their hands off the phone and back safely onto the wheel.
Emily's solution to this every day problem got her top marks and she won a scholarship combining $1000 cash with work experience at Locus Research, Beca Engineering and TiDA, worth a total of $10,000!
Emily loved her internship experience, which showed her many sides of the product design and innovation process, from customer research and prototyping to 3D titanium printing of her design.
"I entered the competition thinking that it was about coming up with ideas and that it could never be a possible career path for me, but after seeing what these people do and get to experience every day, I understand what innovation involves and how it is such an important part of today's society as well as moving into the future."
And after experiencing a day in the life of 3 different types of engineers, Emily is keen on pursuing an engineering career of her own!