Back when I was 15 years old, I won a Design Technology – Systems & Control prize at my school for my work on the design process around this little product I came up with called Water Alert (see photo, left).
It was a moisture detection probe that was designed to be inserted into the soil of a pot plant and provide feedback to the gardener about when it needed to be watered.
The end result that I manufactured wasn’t high quality as you can see (!), but I remember really enjoying the design process and that enthusiasm, combined with my corresponding diligence preparing the documentation, won me the prize.
Nowadays, you can buy something virtually identical as a toy kit for kids to build themselves. It’s called the Thirsty Plant Kit (see photo, right).
This got me thinking about how I could win a school prize >15 years ago with something so simple as the design for a toy with a circuit that only has 2 transistors.