Inventive device to help prevent overuse of pesticides in agriculture wins Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow competition

February 15, 2024
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Samsung Electronics Australia has today announced the winners of Solve for Tomorrow 2023, a nationwide competition that challenges the next generation of young Australian innovators aged 14-24 to use their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), creative, critical thinking, collaborative, and communication skills to create solutions that address the issues they are most passionate about.


Members of Team ORS from left, Michael Nefiodovas, Conor Bennett, Karam Thethy, Celine Wang, Peter Tanner, Jack Sun, Oliver Cheng, Arthur Caspelherr, and Filip Najdovski


Perth-based Team ORS consisting of Michael Nefiodovas, Conor Bennett, Karam Thethy, Celine Wang, Peter Tanner, Jack Sun, Oliver Cheng, Arthur Caspelherr, Katrina Yan, and Filip Najdovski have taken out the top prize. Their innovative idea entails a device which aims to help farmers gather and analyse data on pest populations, to reduce the amount of pesticide used. As the major prize winner, Team ORS has won $10,000 to contribute towards progressing their idea. The team’s goal is to aid farmers in making informed pesticide-led decisions, and help to balance crop protection and ecological responsibility.


Commenting on the win, Team ORS said “Everyone is very excited, our inspiration stemmed from the deep connection Australian farmers have with their environment and the rising public demand for sustainability. Leveraging our passion and expertise in mathematics, statistics, and machine learning, we saw an opportunity in the precision agriculture space where ecological care aligns with farmers’ economic interests. This recognition will allow us to advance our solution, accelerating its translation into a real farm environment.”


Progress photos of Team ORS’ prototype.


Sydney-based Amelie Ritchie and Harlen Postill have devised Petal Path, winning the minor prize for the 19-to-24-year-old bracket. The mobile app gamifies community contributions to maps then plots the best route for those who use wheelchairs or mobility aids. Sustainabili-tree created by Melbournian high school students Flynn, Mikey and George is a sustainability-focused logistic network to recycle old Christmas trees into next year’s wrapping paper. The idea has won the minor prize for the 14-to-18-year-old bracket. Both runner-up prize winners have won $5,000 to take the next step in their projects. In addition to the prize money, each of the three winning teams have received a Samsung productivity pack that includes a Samsung Z Flip5 5G, 27″ Smart Monitor M5, and Galaxy Buds2 Pro.


“This is an incredibly honouring experience,” said Petal Path App’s Amelie and Harlen. “More than 180,000 Australians wheelchair users, including one of our teammates, face increased difficulty when navigating paths and roads in poor condition. We hope our innovation will go a long way in helping those living with a physical disability find the most accessible way of reaching their destination safely. The prize money will go towards developing the app and bringing it to market.”


Minor Prize winners (19-24 years), Harlen Postill (left) and Amelie Ritchie (right)


Sustainabili-tree’s Flynn, George, and Mikey said “The Solve for Tomorrow competition gave us the spark to work on our idea and actually make it happen. Our recycling network is a two-tiered solution to help reduce waste while also increasing the joy of sustainability at Christmas time. We can’t wait to start partnering with local councils and getting the program rolled out!”


Minor Prize winners (14-18 years) from left, George, Mikey and Flynn


This year for the first time, Samsung also conducted a series of in-person ‘Design Sprints’ in partnership with student advocacy organisation Student Edge which helped potential Solve for Tomorrow participants brainstorm, shape, and present their ideas. Four events were held across Sydney with 60 people in total attending. Petal Path creators, Harlen and Amelie, also submitted their winning entry off the back of attending one of these sprints.



Brett Turnbull, Director of Corporate Marketing at Samsung Electronics Australia, and judge on the panel for Solve for Tomorrow 2023 said, “At Samsung, we’re committed to providing young people a platform to propel their ideas forward and celebrate STEM knowledge by addressing real-world issues. Our research shows young Australians are a purpose-driven generation, and that’s come through in the entries this year with the diversity of topics participants tackled and the passion behind their ideas.”


The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow has been empowering young innovator since launching in Australia in 2021, reaching hundreds of students, fostering their passion for STEM, and encouraging them to pursue careers in the industry. To participate in Solve for Tomorrow, young Australians aged 14-24 needed to submit a 500-word proposal outlining the issue facing their community and how they would use STEM to solve it. A panel of judges reviewed the proposals and selected the winners based on a scoring system analysing their STEM application, creativity, feasibility, relevancy, and presentation.

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