SHOOT­ING FOR THE STARS

Al­lora stu­dent cre­ates autism tool, wins trip to NASA

Warwick Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - Jonno Colfs

YOUNG IN­VEN­TOR WINS DREAM TRIP TO NASA IN THE US

A YOUNG Al­lora in­ven­tor leapt for joy yes­ter­day when she dis­cov­ered she would soon head to the US to visit NASA.

Jas­mine El­dridge, 13, from Al­lora P-10 State School, was named one of three win­ners of the na­tional Ori­gin Energy lit­tleBIGidea com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing a spe­cial assem­bly at the school.

When the big re­veal came, a shell-shocked Jas­mine jumped up and down be­fore quickly as­sess­ing it as the great­est mo­ment of her life.

“This is so amaz­ing,” she said.

“When I saw the news cam­eras and the Ori­gin energy ban­ner I knew some­thing was go­ing to hap­pen, but I didn’t ex­pect it to be this.”

Jas­mine’s lit­tleBIGidea en­try, Dog of Tech­nol­ogy (DOT), is de­signed as an aid to as­sist chil­dren who, like her, live with autism.

DOT is a robot dog that helps re­mind chil­dren to take med­i­ca­tion and has a but­ton to no­tify fam­ily mem­bers by email or text if they are needed in an emer­gency.

It also has a re­mov­able col­lar that can be used as a GPS wrist­band and LED lights are pro­grammed to flash in se­quences to help the child calm down.

Jas­mine said she hoped both her in­ven­tion and the win would in­spire other chil­dren to try to make a dif­fer­ence.

“It’s so cool that my idea has been recog­nised like this,” she said.

“It just shows that kids can do amaz­ing stuff and peo­ple with autism can do amaz­ing stuff. Autism isn’t some­thing to be ashamed of, we see things in a dif­fer­ent way and un­der­stand things that oth­ers may not.”

Jas­mine said she hadn’t done much re­search about the NASA head­quar­ters.

“I didn’t want to get my hopes up and be dis­ap­pointed if I didn’t win,” she said.

“But now I can’t wait to see where I’ll be go­ing.”

Jas­mine’s par­ents Mark and Shel­ley were phoned last week and told Jas­mine was one of the few na­tional win­ners out of more than 1000 en­tries.

“But they asked us to keep it a se­cret from Jas­mine, which was so hard to do,” Mrs El­dridge said.

She will ac­com­pany her daugh­ter to NASA on a date yet to be an­nounced.

PHOTO: JONNO COLFS

OVER THE MOON: Al­lora’s Jas­mine El­dridge is off to NASA af­ter win­ning a na­tional Ori­gin Energy com­pe­ti­tion.

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