Mayor's Telstra Technology Awards 2018

Mayor Paul shakes hands with robot

The Mayor’s Telstra Technology Awards 2018 is open to all Toowoomba Region high school students in years 10 - 12. There is no cost associated with entering into the awards for participating students or schools.

The awards encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, while helping students take their big ideas to the next level through practical learning and mentoring sessions with industry leaders. And there are fantastic prizes to be won by students and the winning school!

  • Entry criteria can be found in the blue slider below: 'Entry criteria'.
  • Each stage of the awards process and the actions required are listed in the blue slider below: 'Awards timeline - key dates, stages & judging criteria'.

To talk to us about the awards please email:


Enter now

If you have formed a team and have an idea to submit, enter the awards now by:

Entries close on 26 March 2018.


Entry examples

Is your team struggling to come up with an idea or think their idea isn't good enough? To help get your creative juices flowing, take a look at some examples below submitted by Gold Coast school teams last year.

BragTag team example

What is the problem or need that your idea addresses? What is your solution? Describe why your idea is innovative.
I'm an avid fishermen and the problem I face is recording and capturing my fishing results. I find it difficult to take an accurate picture that will capture the length of my fish.

Well what we do is provide an app to accurately record and capture all  your information based on your fishing. We will provide a brag tag that will be the reference image to your app to show you how long your fish was using computer vision. The app will also tell you when, where, and how to fish for the next time you go out based on your previous fishing data using our Machine learning algorithms.

In fact, every fishermen I have spoken to has said they are very keen and interested in the app and we have got a prototype computer vision program made.

What technologies are required to create your idea? Are these new technologies? How will it work? What do you think it might cost to make?
The technologies used within the app are: Computer vision and Machine learning/AI. The two pieces of tech, is fairly new and has been adopted into some big companies websites and products.

The quoted cost to build the app from professionals is $20000. Currently, the computer vision software has been made already so the cost will be anything less than $20000.

Funding for the app has be 75% achieved.

Who will benefit from your idea? What value will it bring to them?
The market value of our product will benefit hugely to multiple groups of people. The government fisheries will benefit from the data collected within the app as it will give them an insight into what fish are being caught and where. Also, the app will benefit fishermen hugely as it will help them to further increase their fishing capabilities and catch rate. It will also just be a useful tool to have to any fishermen.


Unicorn team example

What is the problem or need that your idea addresses? What is your solution? Describe why your idea is innovative.

“Homd” is an app that can help you to find specific kind of food you want nearby. You can simply take or choose a picture of your own or write down the keyword for the food and the app will get the restaurant that fits most. You can also ask users online to recommend some restaurants that they like as well.

This app works for:

  • Some people that live in another country or far away from home. They want to find the food that is identical to their hometown's special foods. It can be hard to find it in a new town.
  • Some people love to taste different kinds of food but it can be hard to find restaurants.

It’s also a charity app that you can get FP(Food Point) when you leave a comment on any restaurant that you went to, and exchange it to money (e.g. 10FP= $0.01), then select and donate to charity organisations which cooperate with us.

We will earn money from ads and every restaurant we are showing will pay $10/month to be included.

What technologies are required to create your idea? Are these new technologies? How will it work? What do you think it might cost to make?


  • Auto Scanning tech. It's an old technology but useful, which can help to identify specific kind of food in pictures and find informations. 
  • Netdisc which contains menus of restaurants. Those can be uploaded by the owners of the restaurants. 
  • Google maps. Help to workout routes. 
  • Online transfer tech. Transactions support. 
Those may cost $100-500 to make.

Who will benefit from your idea? What value will it bring to them?


  • Age From 8 to 80 years old
  • Students studying abroad
  • People that live away from their hometown
  • People that love collecting and trying different country’s foods
  • Foodies
  • Owners of restaurants (earn more incomes)
  • People that need help. (Homeless, refugees)


Digital bridges team example

What is the problem or need that your idea addresses? What is your solution? Describe why your idea is innovative.
Did you know? Australians are among the highest users of technology, and e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste. It is estimated that Australians buy more than 4 million computers and 3 million televisions annually and that less than 10% of these will be properly recycled (For more information about Australia's E-Waste problem please visit Australian Bureau of Statistics E-waste Information page

The concept for our idea came about when we observed piles of old student laptops being readied for collection.  These devices which were marked for end of life, were part of Kevin Rudd's Digital Education Revolution and had been designated for disposal and recycling. We saw an opportunity to give these devices (many of which just needed a refresh) a new lease of life by refurbishing them and then donating them to developing countries. We salvaged 130 of these devices before the remaining were collected for disposal.

For those that are unaware the Digital Education Revolution received $2.4 billion dollars of funding over a seven year period from 2008, with the idea to provide every student in grades 9 -12 a laptop for schooling. This program has since ceased and the devices purchased from the scheme are now being disposed of.

What technologies are required to create your idea? Are these new technologies? How will it work? What do you think it might cost to make?

This is currently an environmental e-waste issue that all schools are facing. Our project Digital Bridges aims to address two pressing issues with a single solution. We aim to narrow the Digital Divide in developing nations and improve our environmental outcomes. We have partnered up with Endless OS ( a non- for profit San Francisco based movement and charities in Australian and East Timor that will see our refurbished devices given new purpose in schools and orphanages in East Timor. We envision our project will improve these communities overall well being by improving their economic and educational outcomes.

Cost: free

How does it work?

We at Digital Bridges accept organisations e-waste and give it new life in developing countries to improve educational and overall community outcomes. We organise the collection and perform the refurbishment of the technology and then partner with charities to assist in the logistics and distribution of the technology.

Digital Bridges is a school based movement where students learning Digital Technologies are provided an opportunity to engage in a real world project while applying their learnt knowledge of Hardware and Software in the process. It's hands on learning with positive real world result. 

As this is a national issue that all schools are facing we see an opportunity for more schools to become involved and make a greater difference in developing countries. Refurbishment process includes upgrading , scrubbing of hard drives, physical cleaning, repairs, installing of new Open Source software, testing and then packaging.

Who will benefit from your idea? What value will it bring to them?

Our idea is innovative as there are very few projects which focus on addressing the digital divide and we have yet to find one that ties into the disposal of e-waste. In Australia we have an abundance of technology that is still usable and we are currently disposing it.  The value these devices provide to developing countries is immeasurable both educationally and economically.  

We have an opportunity to make a real change that will shape generations in local communities of developing countries. It is crazy that we are not already doing this. As mentioned previously less than 10% of computers purchased in Australia are correctly recycled and knowing that every organisation and business now relies on technology and upgrades their devices every few years; why are we not donating them? Students can put what they learn into action and make a difference while doing so. 

Digital Bridges, it makes sense.


The Thermo Suit team example

What is the problem or need that your idea addresses? What is your solution? Describe why your idea is innovative.
The idea that the group has come up with is to design a coat that has the ability to change temperature, similar to an Air conditioner. Through various technologies, the coat will be able to produce energy through body heat and surface temperature.

What technologies are required to create your idea? Are these new technologies? How will it work? What do you think it might cost to make?
The idea of thermocouples describes that when two metals are connected in a certain way, and either end of this setup is heated or cooled (opposite sides should have different temperatures), then an electrical current is produced. This same principle is used in a vast number of high tech device in this modern era; for example, air conditioners, Smart Phones, TVs etc.

This, however, is merely how the power is obtained.From here, the power obtained from the thermocouples process (which will have one sensor located near a heat spot of the subject's body and one outside) will be used in a similar process to that of an electric blanket.

Essentially, the idea of The Coat is to design a wearable article of clothing that can be worn all year around, and is designed for the everyday joe, as well as the business man. It is essentially a personal, mobile thermostat.

Who will benefit from your idea? What value will it bring to them?

The coat will be a sufficient way of regulating body temperature. Since body heat and surrounding temperature are the main sources of energy, there will be reduction of energy use per person. For example, instead of turning the air conditioner on to cool the house down, you can put your coat on and cool down with your own body temperature helping. This will results in massive reduction in energy use, cheap and sufficient.



Awards timeline, criteria and prizes

1. Phase 1: Idea generation (6 weeks) - CURRENT STAGE

In phase 1 of the award, participants are to create a team of 3 students from grades 10-12 at their school and work together to come up with an innovative and original technological idea or concept.

Important dates

  • 26 March 2018 - Phase 1 entries close
  • 29 March 2018 - Finalists announced

Judging criteria (20% of final score)

  1. Is the entry original, innovative and inventive? 0/20
  2. Does the concept use new technology, or acknowledge that it is inspired by existing technology, using it in a new way? 0/20
  3. Does the entry demonstrate a sound understanding of the technology to be used? 0/30
  4. Does the entry solve a real problem and have positive benefits to the community? 0/15
  5. Does the supporting material (photos, videos, graphics, drawings etc.) complement the innovative idea or concept? 0/15

TOTAL: 0 / 100

Next steps in the awards process

Following the judging of the phase 1 entries, the selected finalist teams will be announced on Wednesday 28 March 2018. All school coordinators will be informed by email. This information will then be publicly available on this webpage. The finalist teams will then proceed to phase 2 of the competition. 


2. Phase 2 - Idea development, research and refinement (10 weeks)

In phase 2, the finalist teams will have the opportunity to further develop their technological idea or concept with mentoring from some of the best entrepreneur and technical experts in our region! Finalists will participate in a series of 4 mentoring sessions to be held at TAFE Queensland, focusing on practical skill and knowledge development specific to the startup, entrepreneur and technological space.

At the end of phase 2 finalists will create a short video about their idea or concept to submit to the judging panel.

Important dates

  • 29 March 2018: Phase 2 entries open
  • 6 June 2018: Phase 2 entries close

How to enter

The phase 2 entry form will be released by 29 March.

Judging criteria (40% of final score)

  1. Does the concept show further development from the initial entry submitted in Phase 1? 0/20
  2. Has the team demonstrated learnings from mentoring sessions and incorporated aspects into their idea or concept? 0/20
  3. Has the team demonstrated entrepreneurial skills including the development of a business model? (E.g. marketing channels, customer feedback.) 0/20
  4. Has the team demonstrated an understanding of who their potential customers are? 0/20
  5. Has a prototype been developed? 0/20

TOTAL: 0 / 100

Next steps

The finalist teams will participate in the final pitch and presentation night at the University of Southern Queensland on Wednesday 20 June 2018. Judges will review the videos submitted by each of the finalist teams prior to the final pitch and presentation night.


3. Final pitch and presentation

The final pitch and presentation night will be held at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). This event is each team's opportunity to present their idea to a broader audience and convince the judging panel that their idea or concept is the best and has the potential to change the world. Teachers, students and parents will be invited to attend the final pitch and presentation night.


  • 20 June 2018 (time to be advised) - Final pitch and presentation night at USQ

Entry details

Presentations must be structured, rehearsed and kept to 5 minutes in duration. The presentation may include the team's video submission from phase 2 and a demonstration of any working prototypes which may have been developed. At the conclusion of each team’s presentation, judges will be given the opportunity to ask questions about the idea or concept (2 minutes).

Please note: Set-up time will be limited, so whilst use of prototypes is encouraged teams should avoid a pitch that requires significant set-up at presentation time.

Judging criteria

  1. Did the presentation keep to the five minute allocation? 0/5
  2. Does the pitch tell a story sharing the team’s vision for their concept? 0/20
  3. Was the team able to communicate their idea and/or concept effectively and confidently to the audience? 0/30
  4. Did the team demonstrate understanding of their market and the competitive landscape? 0/20
  5. Was the team’s final pitch unique and creative, using a variety of mediums? For example, PowerPoint presentation, video, graphics, posters etc. 0/20
  6. Did the teams answer the judge’s questions satisfactorily in a confident and articulate manner? 0/5

TOTAL: 0 / 100

Entry criteria

Entries must focus on technology to change the world; this could be in the form of an entirely new creative idea, or an application of existing technology concepts in a novel way to solve a community, social, business or environmental challenge. Teams could create a new app or design a smarter phone, watch or digital camera or even develop a revolutionary new idea for transport, health, agriculture, safety, conservation, construction, energy or recreation. The possibilities are limitless!

All entries will be evaluated by an expert panel, based on the judging criteria set out in the awards terms and conditions.

Team criteria

  • All teams must be made up of 3 students from the same school.
  • There is no limit to the number of teams a school can enter.
  • Each school must assign a teacher as the school coordinator for their teams. This person will be the contact for all correspondence relating to their school's team/s participation in the award.
  • A completed and signed parent/guardian consent form is required for each student entering the competition. The parent/guardian consent form must be uploaded to the online entry form.
  • If permission is granted for images and/or recordings of the child to be taken during the award process, then a media consent form also needs to be filled in and uploaded to the online entry form.

School prize

The winning school:

  • Receive $5,000 cash

Student prizes

The winning teams:

  • First prize – 3 x Google Pixel 2 smartphones and 3 x Harman Kardon Onyx 4 bluetooth speakers
  • Second prize – 3 x Samsung Galaxy Tab A
  • Third prize – 3 x Harman Kardon Onyx 4 bluetooth speakers

Spirit of Collaboration Award:

  • Selected individuals receive double passes to Event Cinema Gold Class

Spirit of collaboration award

Our award mentors will choose three students from the finalist teams that show a real flair for innovation and collaboration during the mentoring sessions. They will be looking for students that not only collaborate exceptionally well within their own team, but also collaborate well with other teams and mentors.


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