A Bright Sparks finalist who invented a device that finds the nearest available parking space says he would love to go on and invent other things - like something that can catapult his brothers permanently into space.

Fairfield Intermediate student Keith Cunningham's innovative car parking assistant won him a third place in the Under 12 category of this year's Bright Sparks Awards.

The Hamilton boy said he was driving around an underground car parking building with his father one day when he came up with the idea.

His creation, a sonar circuit to detect free spaces, impressed the judges.

So did his sense of humour.

He talks about wanting to eventually become a software developer, but would also "love to invent something that catapults my brothers into Mars so I don't see them again, or a robot that makes my bed every morning".

Keith said he was inspired by his father, who is an engineer.

Under 12 winner Katie Starsmore, from St Josephs in Opunake, created a "safety moover" to ensure safe milking on a rotary platform and was inspired by her father and grandfather.

In other age categories winning inventions included a mobile phone TV remote, a transformer robot and a device that checks a driver's licence, warrant and vehicle registration before they can start the engine.

Hawkes Bay teenager Shahn Taylor was named the grand prize winner for inventing a functioning wind turbine from an old washing machine.