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A breath of fresh air! Schoolgirl, 12, takes inspiration from her asthmatic mother to develop a solar-powered backpack that filters out air pollution
- Eleanor Woods from Huddersfield has won the Backpack to the Future prize
- Her backpack filters out air pollution protecting people from airborne hazards
A schoolgirl has created a solar-powered backpack that filters out air pollution after being inspired from her asthmatic mother.
Eleanor Woods, 12, from High Burton, Huddersfield, entered the Backpack To The Future competition after her mother put the application form in her room.
She went on to win the award for her innovative bag that is 'all about keeping my friends, family and classmates safe using an air filter'.
Powered by green energy from solar power and a dynamo - a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy - the backpack filters polluted air before fanning out cleaner air nearby.
Eleanor Woods, 12, from High Burton, Huddersfield won the Backpack to the Future competition for her design that uses solar energy to filter out hazardous toxins in the air
Fashion of the future
In September, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) asked children to predict the clothes and fashion accessories we would be wearing in the future.
These were the top ten items predicted:
- Biodegradable clothes
- Clothes that can regulate temperature
- Bionic trousers that can help people with disabilities walk
- Clothes that give you energy
- Shoes that can generate electricity
- Adaptive clothing for people with disabilities
- A watch that can measure and boost energy levels
- A backpack that can heat food
- Clothes that grow the same rate as you
- Clothes which can tell if you are getting ill
Eleanor said: 'I have an air filter at home because my mum has mild asthma.
'My Breathe Better Backpack is all about keeping my friends, family and classmates safe using an air filter.
'It looks cool, will help get kids outside and fight off colds.
'The first thing that came to mind when it came to the design is that blue is one of my favourite colours and blue feels clean and the bubbles on the outside have a clean theme for breathing.'
The pandemic spurred on Eleanor's awareness of how pollution affects a person's health and the spread of diseases.
Spending a lot of time with her asthmatic mum over several lockdowns gave the 12-year-old food for thought.
The schoolgirl added: 'We have just had a pandemic and this backpack could help prevent another one from happening with the air filters.
'My generation is really aware of pollution, and we have lessons on it at school along with diseases spreading, and this is another reason I designed this, because it is getting much worse.'
The young designer said she is becoming increasingly aware of the pollution that surrounds after, as she lives on a main road.
Eleanor said: 'I walk to school, next to the road, and can taste the petrol when buses come through.'
Speaking after winning the competition, Eleanor said the impact of her backpack will be far-reaching.
Powered by green energy from solar power and a dynamo, a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, the backpack's built-in filter and fans clean polluted air nearby
Eleanor said the backpack is 'all about keeping my friends, family and classmates safe using an air filter' by protecting people from airborne hazards
She added: 'If just a few people start using it, it could be really good for the planet.
'Greta Thunberg is a really big role model for me.'
The Backpack To the Future competition is a partnership between the Institution of Engineering and Technology and fashion brand Hype.
It was launched to change perceptions, encourage more diversity within engineering and to show children how they could combine an interest in fashion with a career in science, technology, engineering or maths.
The pandemic spurred on Eleanor's awareness of how pollution affects a person's health and the spread of diseases, particularly spending time with her asthmatic mother
When she is older, Eleanor hopes to enter the world of creative design and is also interested in teaching.
When they found out she had won, Eleanor's mother, Annabel Hobbs, 58, said she was 'squealing' adding 'I can't believe she drew something and now we actually get to see it.'
Eleanor was presented with her winning design in London this weekend and has had to keep her news a secret.
She added: 'I'm most excited to tell my grandparents, I think they will be really excited and would love to see it.'
Backpack to the future: IET unveils biodegradable school bag
Last year, the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) created the world's first biodegradable school backpack.
The institute paired with global fashion brand Hype and Biophilica using fully biodegradable TreeKind leaf leather to make the bag.
The bag is free of plastic, recyclable and compostable material.
The prototype was made to celebrate the beginning of the Backpack to the Future competition.
Mira Nameth from Biophilica said: 'It's fascinating to see young people's predictions for what fashion of the future will be like.
'As passionate innovators in our industry it's also really encouraging that so many are striving for a more sustainable future.
'Our Treekind material is free of plastic, recyclable and compostable. To partner with the IET and a high-street brand like Hype to make the world's first biodegradable school backpack is extremely exciting.
'STEM is now at the heart of innovations in the fashion industry and these developments will inevitably continue to move from high end to high street in the coming years.'
The Institute of Engineering and Technology paired with fashion brand Hype and Biophilica to create the world's first biodegradable school backpack