Schoolgirl’s hi-tech backpack designed to tackle airborne diseases | Science & Tech News

A schoolgirl’s design for a backpack that can filter air to protect people from pollution and airborne disease has won a national innovation contest.

Eleanor Woods was presented with a real-world incarnation of her product in London over the weekend, having won over judges with a hi-tech satchel that “looks cool, will help get kids outside, and fights off colds”.

All that and it will still carry her textbooks, stationary and homework.

The 12-year-old, from High Burton, Huddersfield, said the inspiration for her Breathe Better Backpack came from her mother’s asthma, which she was especially aware of during the COVID lockdowns.

“I have an air filter at home because my mum has mild asthma,” she said, adding that it was also designed to help friends and classmates stay safe.

“My generation is really aware of pollution and we have lessons on it at school along with diseases spreading.

“This is another reason I designed this, because it is getting much worse.”

‘I can taste the petrol’

Eleanor, for whom climate activist Greta Thunberg is a “big role model”, said she can “taste the petrol” outside when walking to school from her home on a main road.

She drew up her solution when her mum, Annabel Hobbs, 58, put a Backpack To The Future form in her room.

Her creation is powered by solar energy and a dynamo, which is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, and has a built-in filter and fans to clean the air.

It’s blue and decorated with bubbles, which Eleanor said gave the backpack a “clean theme”.

“If just a few people start using it, it could be really good for the planet,” she added.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JANUARY 30 12-year-old's Eleanor Wood winning design from the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and HYPE's national 'Backpack to the Future' competition, challenging children to invent a futuristic backpack with engineering and technology applications. Eleanor's 'Breathe Better Backpack', inspired by her mother's experience with asthma, features a built-in air filter and fans to clean polluted air. Issue date: Monday January 30.
The bag has a built-in air filter and fans

The Backpack To The Future contest was a partnership between the Institution of Engineering and Technology and fashion brand Hype.

It was launched to encourage more diversity in engineering and show children how they can combine an interest in fashion with careers like science and technology.

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