With an inquisitive mind and can-do attitude, Peta Eldridge likes to help people with a little bit of problem solving.
That inventive streak could see the nine-year-old Canberra schoolgirl win a trip to NASA in the United States after becoming a finalist in the annual littleBIGidea competition, run by Origin Energy.
Inspired by her sister Jasmine's time in hospital, Peta has designed what she calls Turtle Mate, a comforting and familiar turtle that doubles as a controller for all manner of devices a young patient might need at their finger tips, from the television to phone calls.
"My sister, she's sick, she's been in hospital a lot and the first few times she went in to hospital, she looked nervous and scared and I wanted to do something to help," Peta said.
She said the Turtle Mate would have a variety of functions and be textured so it was nice for a patient to have alongside them.
"It has four buttons and four little buttons. Four little buttons tell you what the big buttons do. The TV button controls the TV, music button lets you listen to music, the reading button lets you listen to audiobooks and there's a nurse button, of course. The volume button's for the TV and it would have headphones on its head," she said.
"And I thought it would help because it would have texture on its stomach and you could, when you're stressed, you could just pat it, it would make you feel OK."
But why the turtle over any other animal? "Because turtles are awesome," Peta said.
The colour and texture of Turtle Mate would be a welcome relief in what can be a very bland environment in a hospital.
"If you go into a hospital, a lot of the stuff is just plain white. You want something colourful and nice, in calming colours," Peta said.
Peta has been named as one of 12 national finalists in the competition from more than 1000 entries, with three winners to be announced on Sunday. A panel of three judges, which includes 18-year-old Macinley Butson, who has won international awards for her inventions and was named NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2018, assess the entries.
As a finalist, Peta got to speak to a mentor to push her idea further. In that conversation, Peta has already explored how to make Turtle Mate easy to use for vision- and hearing-impaired children.
The Turtle Mate also has parents in mind, with Peta's plans including connectivity with other devices so mums and dads can limit the amount of television their kids might be watching - even when they are in hospital.
Peta said she talked through her ideas a lot with her mum, while her dad helped out with putting them together.
Inventing clearly runs in the family, as Jasmine is a previous winner of the competition.
Jasmine's plans for a robotic dog designed to help children with autism won the competition in 2017.