CANBERRA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- How dangerous is texting or making calls on your mobile phone while driving? Thanks to 14-year-old Conroy Cheers from Melbourne we may all soon know.
Australia's top science body, the Commonwealth of Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), announced on Tuesday that Conroy was named as one of the winners of the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards in Melbourne.
Conroy's first place in the Investigations category of the awards was for developing a method to measure the risks of texting while driving, and also making hands-on and hands-free voice calls.
Using a readily available driving simulator, Conroy 'drove' the streets texting friends, calling his family and measured how his driving was affected. Conroy hopes the process will allow people to experience firsthand the dangers of texting while driving.
"I have loved science and engineering in any size or shape, for as long as I can remember," Conroy said.
"I always get excited at the prospect of 'making stuff', and also enjoy riding my bike and reading. My ambition is to become a scientist or an engineer, perhaps in the field of nanotechnology."
Winner in the Engineering section was 18-year-old Ethan Buston from Wollongong, New South Wales.
Ethan created the SMART (Stroke Management with Augmented Reality Technology) system - a camera-based augmented reality system that aims to aid the recovery and increase the safety of stroke patients. By manipulating what they can see, a clearer visual picture is provided to the patient.
"Science is my life and one of my major passions," Ethan said.
"I love the discovery that comes with science and using that discovery to help benefit others."
Since 1981 the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards have been Australia's most prestigious school science awards.
"Science will always be at the core of understanding how we address human, environmental and business challenges while engineering helps us find the way to do it," BHP Billiton Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mackenzie said.
"That's why we have supported these awards for over 30 years."
The awards reward young people who have undertaken practical research projects, which demonstrate innovative approaches and thorough scientific or engineering procedures.
"This year's finalists are tackling at high school some things that are being tackled in leading research laboratories," CSIRO Chief Executive Megan Clark said.
"They have taken on great challenges, like wireless power transmission, bamboo bikes, food production, pollution and helping stroke victims to recover. They inspire us with their courage."