Australia — CENTRAL Victorian creators triumphed at the inventor awards last night, with a plumber from Cohuna named Bendigos Inventor of the Year and a Mandurang firefighter winning the Innovator of the Year title.
Success: Mandurang firefighter Mike Taylor with his fair air fire mask that earned him $10,000 and the Innovator of the Year title at last nights inventor awards.
Paul Reid took out the Inventor of the Year award and $10,000 in prize money for his precise underslab tool which simplifies the plumbing process for new homes.
Mike Taylor also won $10,000 and the Innovator of the Year title for his fair air fire mask, a reusable mask designed to be used in bushfire fighting.
When I was in my teens I got a lungful of smoke during the first fire I fought, Mr Taylor said of the inspiration behind his product.
You have all sorts of things to protect you on the outside but what about your lungs? The only thing you could use was an old nappy.
Mr Taylor said the prize money would help him get the fair air fire mask onto the market faster.
The mask is made from alpaca wool, is fire retardant, filters small particles, is machine washable and one size fits all.
Mr Taylor is hoping the Australia Defence Association will start a production run soon.
A bit of publicity might help the department make up their mind, he laughed.
Three other awards were given out yesterday by special guest Chris Russell from ABC TVs New Inventors.
The Technology Award, and $2000 in prize money, went to Over7 Waste Heat Recovery System inventor Frank Will of Jan Juc.
Bendigo teen Bronte McDonald took out the Young Inventor of the Year for her carbon-fibre wheels.
And the Peoples Choice Award was handed to Graeme Witney for his artificial intelligence engine. People voted for Mr Witneys invention during the awards exhibition yesterday at the Bendigo Town Hall.
Greater Bendigo mayor Rod Fyffe said the 2011 awards had been a fantastic success.
This event really has showcased Bendigo as a thinking city to the rest of the world, Cr Fyffe said.