What the future will look like according to 11-year-olds.

Thanks to our brand partner, Origin

Kids these days. They’re smart. Scarily smart.

Whenever I used to feel inadequate, I could take comfort in one, consoling thought:

“Hey, at least I’ve come a long way since I was in primary school.”

Unfortunately, having recently talked to actual primary school students, this thought is now completely useless.

Kids are really freaking smart, you guys. Really. Freaking. Smart.

I learned this by asking a few of them to tell me about their ideas for inventions that would make the world a better place when I visited a school recently for a workshop as part of Origin’s littleBIGideas competition.

“Kids are really freaking smart, you guys. Really. Freaking. Smart.”

In a nutshell, Origin ran a competition asking school kids to come up and describe a clever invention that would make the world a better place.

Bracing myself for such adorable answers as “a machine that gives me free lollies” or something to that effect, I was slightly disconcerted when they began talking about “kinetic energy” and “economic sustainability”.

These were 11 year olds. They had pretty much just got their pen license, and they were schooling me (puns!) in the economy.

I was humbled and intimidated.

Instead of letting their cleverness defeat me though, I’ve decided to share their smarts with all of you, so you can feel inadequate too.

In no particular order, here are some of the most impressive inventions from kids who are probably at least 15 years younger than all of us:

1. The Kinetic Energy Watch (Yes, I had to Google how to spell that).

I really am wondering if it’s considered “frivolous spending” to give an 11-year-old start up money to make this happen. This invention is genius.

This watch would rely on kinetic energy (for everyone older than 11, kinetic energy is energy created through motion) to:

– Measure your pulse rate and

– Measure the amount of energy burnt

But most importantly for everyone with a phone, it will also create enough energy to recharge mobile phones.

“I really am wondering if it’s considered “frivolous spending” to give an 11-year-old start up money to make this happen. This invention is genius.”

2. The Food Scanner.

This clever device would fit in your pocket and help anyone with allergies, anyone overseas, or anyone that likes animals (so all of us, right?).


This scanner would work by scanning food and informing the user what foods are actually in it. Not only this though, it would also translate languages and identify different types of animals.

I will take three.

3. A hotel for homeless people.

This one was impressive for its complete selflessness. One young girl thought of a hotel that would solely house homeless people, particularly providing resources and help in the colder months.

Not only this, but she insisted there would be an airport nearby. I’m not sure what purpose it would serve, but it seemed very important to her that it be included.

“This one was impressive for its complete selflessness.”

4. A self-sorting donations bin.

As we all know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Except when that man literally gives away trash, and puts it in a charity donation bin like a jerk.

Surprisingly this happens more than you’d think, and it’s a significant issue for charities with collection bins.

Enter: a child’s idea for a donations bin that sorts clothes from rubbish. It would work by using a funnel that divides the two things, catching fabrics that can be donated and discarding the rubbish into a proper bin.

5. A thermometer for food allergies.

It’s no surprise that many of the kids are thinking about allergies due to their increase according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. However, what is surprising is that we aren’t listening to them for ideas on preventing reactions to foods, because these kids have some brilliant thoughts on the topic.

This idea would use a skewer-like device that is placed into food to determine if it carries a potential allergen. If the allergen is in the food, a siren would go off warning both the person about to eat it and potentially everyone else in the restaurant that an allergic reaction would be imminent upon consumption.

Sinead and Lara hard at work.

After my extensive research talking to these kids, I have learned two very important lessons:

  1. The future’s in good hands.
  2. If they were a little bit taller, we would be at risk of primary school kids taking over the world.

You have been warned, world.

What inventions would you like to see in the future?

Here are a few more snaps from St Oliver Plunkett Primary School and the smarty-pants kids who attend:

Want more? How about:

These six genius kids have achieved more than you ever will in a lifetime.

Video: We asked kids what was missing from their world.