After being diagnosed with leukaemia 18 months ago, a 10-year-old girl from Australia was inspired to invent a new device for dispensing Band-Aids. Dubbed the Faster-Aid, Bridgette Veneris' design works like a roll of sticky tape that's resealable to keep the bandages sterile, and the idea was selected as a winner in Origin Energy's littleBIGidea, an Australia-wide competition for young inventors.

Anyone who's ever used a Band-Aid knows that opening the wrapper can be a fiddly process, especially with a freshly-cut finger or, in the case of nurses, while wearing gloves. As a leukaemia patient, Bridgette regularly saw her parents and nurses struggling with them and wanted to come up with a better way.

For the Faster-Aid, Bridgette took inspiration from a standard sticky tape dispenser. Inside the device is a roll of bandages, with a switch at the front that pushes them out one at a time. Each 4-cm (1.6-in) piece is padded in the middle like a standard Band-Aid, and the ends are perforated for easy separation. Pushing the switch down sends two blades together to cut the piece off, and at the same time, close the device to keep the bandages remaining inside sterile.

Bridgette's Faster-Aid won the Grade 3 and 4 category in the Origin littleBIGidea competition, an Australia-wide event designed to get kids designing and testing new inventions, while learning how to solve real-world problems with creative thinking.

"Bridgette's idea is brilliant in its simplicity," says James O'Loghlin, one of the competition's judges. "It makes a common task simpler, reduces waste, and solves a problem that many people have trying to open complex sanitized packaging when there is an immediate need for aid."

The other winners include Dylan Bathgate, who took out the Grade 5 and 6 category with a food recycling app, designed to reduce waste by connecting households and businesses with charities that can collect unwanted food and highlight nearby chicken pens and worm farms for recycling food scraps. In the Year 7 and 8 category, 12-year-old Kern Mitchell proposed a "smart sprinkler," which would save water by directing the spray to gardens and lawns, avoiding paths and fences.

To encourage them down this career path, Bridgette and the other winners will be sent on an "innovation adventure" to the US, where they get to visit the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Epcott Theme Park at Disney World, and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum.

Bridgette explains her design in the video below.

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