IMPRESSION: ANTI Ordinary founder and CEO Rob Joseph spoke to students at the 2019 BiG Day In Springfield.
IMPRESSION: ANTI Ordinary founder and CEO Rob Joseph spoke to students at the 2019 BiG Day In Springfield. Rob Williams

Beanie strong as a helmet withstands blows from wooden block

HAVING a metre-long piece of 12mm plywood smashed over his head is certainly one way to make a statement.

For founder and CEO of startup company ANTI Ordinary Rob Joseph, it is the perfect way to announce himself and his unique invention.

The 22-year-old was one of the speakers hoping to inspire more than 150 high school seniors at the Australian Computer Society Foundation's 2019 BiG Day In Springfield.

Tech industry professionals from Microsoft, IBM, TechnologyOne and WiseTech Global offered their insights at the event held at the University of Southern Queensland this week.

Mr Joseph, a medical engineering student, is one of the brains behind a beanie which doubles as a helmet, offering comfort and style as well as safety.

The beanie is made up of non-Newtonian materials which are naturally soft but harden instantly on impact.

Once the impact is over, it goes back to its natural soft and rubbery state.

He believes it was best to show how the invention works right in front of people's eyes.

"Being younger than most people in this (tech) realm, people don't believe that we can do it," he said.

"We decided it was the best way of showing someone and that was it.

"It's a serious bit of wood but lucky the helmet works."

He said his biggest advice for aspiring innovators was to not get "locked into a box".

"It's a tough journey but the best thing about science and engineering is it's not just science and engineering," he said.

"The concepts you learn through science is actually applicable in things like marketing, art and culture.

"It's not so much even a career path but a way of thinking.

"The concept of the career and the 'path' should change. While engineer is a fantastic career, it's a way of thinking that will take you further than just designing cogs or wheels or helmets even."

The company raised just over $200,000 and is going through testing before moving onto the manufacturing stage.

By this time next year, it will be out on the market and Mr Joseph hopes, on the heads of many on the slopes.

USQ Professor (Information Systems) Raj Gururajan said an explosion in new technologies has spurred an increased demand for IT workers.

"Digital skills are one of the most critical skills young Australians will need for the jobs of the future," he said.

"Every sector and industry has some element of technology driving it, which means there are many new and exciting opportunities for young people to help shape the world we live and work in."

The university will be offering two new master's programs in Cyber Security and IT Innovbation at USW Springfield from semester two of this year.

ACS Foundation Executive Director John Ridge said education was key to growing the IT sector.

"We were delighted to partner with USQ for the first time to help inspire young people to consider a career in IT," he said.

"Gaining the latest information and insights into the types of IT careers available means high school students can make better-informed decisions when making the transition from their studies into the industry.

"There are thousands of organisations interested in hiring people with IT skills and IT qualifications, including companies these students have probably never heard of.

"The demand is growing every day and Australia is struggling to keep up. That is why we have companies relocating their business offshore so they can get access to more IT-skilled workers."