Harry Goodhead, a ten-year-old from Newcastle, has won the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s national ‘Super-Realoes’ competition with a design for a fire-fighting drone.
The IET challenged children to devise a superhero invention that would make a positive impact on the world or people around them.Harry’s invention, the ‘Multi-function Drone’, is fitted with a water hose to put out fires and filter systems to clean polluted air and extract smoke from fire sites. The innovative creation impressed the judges with its potential to revolutionise disaster response across the globe.
World-renowned astronaut – and Harry’s hero – Major Tim Peake presented Harry with a prototype of his invention in a surprise meeting. He now joins Tim and a team of STEM pioneers as the latest member of the STEM Squad in the IET’s ‘DM Universe’ comic strip – created last year in partnership with acclaimed Marvel artists Andy Lanning and Ant Williams to help get children excited about the world of STEM.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d won the competition, it made me so happy,’ Harry said. ‘It was super cool to meet Tim Peake and I was speechless when he said I was the winner. Being turned into a comic book hero as part of the STEM squad is unbelievable. The whole thing has made me feel more confident about becoming an astronaut or an engineer in the future!’
‘I am a huge advocate of getting young people excited about STEM, so I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be part of this brilliant campaign with the IET,’ said Tim, who is a founding member of the STEM Squad and IET Honorary Fellow. ‘Harry is such a well-deserved winner – I’m so impressed by the level of detail and innovation that went into his entry. He’ll be joining the STEM Squad comic strip but, with the aptitude he’s already shown, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him travelling into space at some point in the future!’
The competition runners up were ten-year-old Anna Morton for her ‘Holo Sign Watch’, which automatically converts speech into sign language using a solar-powered hologram feature, and nine-year-old Nicolas Pereira, for his ‘Algae patriot X6VY’ superhero suit, which is fitted with multiple gadgets to tackle environmental damage, including a solar-powered ‘smog sucker’.
A survey of 1,000 children aged five to 13 carried out for the IET last year revealed that while more than 90 per cent of children think superheroes are ‘cool’, it was their costumes and their ability to save the world that were admired most, rather than their intelligence or technical know-how.
The survey’s findings formed the basis of the IET’s ‘Super Realoes’ report, which explored the reasons why young people feel so differently about the fantasy of superheroes, as opposed to the groundbreaking world of real-life STEM heroes.The findings also inspired the IET’s competition, which was launched last year to help ignite children’s interest in STEM subjects.
‘The response from young people has been really inspiring,’ said former IET president Professor Danielle George MBE, who was on the judging panel. ‘The levels of creativity and originality in their efforts to make a positive impact were so impressive – I’d like to thank all those who entered for making our decision very difficult! Most of all, I hope it has encouraged them to see that not all superheroes wear capes, but we see real superheroes every day.
‘“Superhero” technology modernising the world of STEM can lead to inventions that will make the world a better and healthier place in the future,’ she continued. ‘And by encouraging passion in our young people for the subject, it makes the future look that little bit brighter.’