The sky's the limit for Callum


Tauranga's Callum Riddington won the Baldwins supreme award at ASB Bright Sparks 2014 for his invention, Kiwi Drones.

The control system for a working drone includes GPS mission plotting, stability control and a super-friendly user interface. Callum designed it all from scratch.

The 17-year-old Otumoetai College student hacked the code in an X-Box controller to use in Kiwi Drones, after deciding it was a more familiar, user-friendly device.

His inspiration came from a disatisfaction with current drone control systems.

“They were expensive and bulky. I didn't like the functionality, so I created my own,” he said.

In the wake of his ASB Bright Sparks triumph, Callum was awarded $10,000 as part of the AMP Study Start Scholarship. In 2015, he will study engineering, with a major in software engineering.

Callum was awarded his NCEA with merit in 2014, topping electronics and programming with straight excellence results.

His ultimate aim is to become New Zealand's first Unmanned Aerial System engineer and boost New Zealand’s profile in the area of drone innovations.

“Bright Sparks was a great start,” he said. “I’d encourage all young inventors and innovators to get involved.”