A SIMPLE idea for a portable hard drive to back up photos is proving a winner for teen inventor Jacob Clarke.
The 17-year old student took out the innovation award at Ric Richardson's Innovation Pipeline event last week, beating five adult local inventors.
The invention, Picstor, is a portable battery-powered hard drive to back up photographs and video.
A keen nature photographer, Jacob came up with the idea while on a trip to Tasmania when he ran out of space on his SD cards.
"At the moment all hard drives need a computer, so if you are in the wilderness there's no way you can backup your photos," Jacob explained.
"This is the first portable hard drive with its own power source."
Winning the prize means Jacob has the chance to patent and prepare his invention for manufacturing, with mentoring by seasoned professionals along the way.
"I think one of the reasons I won was there's a ready market for my design," he said.
Yesterday a provisional patent for the invention was filed with help from Ric Richardson, famous for taking on Microsoft in a nine-figure patent infringement case - and winning.
"He's pretty amazing, he devoted heaps of time to educate me on all the legal language of patenting," Jacob said.
"I think I'm officially an inventor now," he laughed.
"By the end of this year we're trying to get a prototype made and then we'll start a Kickstart campaign to go towards raising the money for full-scale production of it."
Already an accomplished photographer, Jacob said he couldn't wait to get his hands on the prototype of his own invention.
He's won several competitions for his photography and on the weekend did a photo shoot for the social media sensations and singers No Frills Twins for Teen Vogue.
Kimmaree Thompson, CEO of local Regional Development Australia who sponsored the event, said the Innovation Pipeline brought a huge amount of specialised knowledge and business opportunity to the region.
"We had close to 50 inventors and innovators from outside the region, and were able to connect dozens of national entrepreneurs with local creative businesses," Ms Thompson said.