Schoolgirl, 12, creates clean air backpack

Is being an inventor the best job? Eleanor Woods designed a rucksack to clean the air
to help her mother breathe — and won a national competition to find the
backpacks of the future.

Eleanor Woods is only 12. But she has already invented something that could change the world. The schoolgirl from Huddersfield has designed a solar-powered backpack that filters the air you breathe.

The backpack is the winner of a national competition, “Backpack to the Future”, run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and the
clothing company Hype.

The idea came to her because her mother suffers from asthma. They have an air filter in their home. It seemed logical to her to have the same protection outside.

“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 fights off colds,” she said.

The urgent need for clean air was made clear to Eleanor by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have just had a pandemic and this backpack could help prevent another one from happening with the air filters.”

But clean air is important for other reasons, too. Air pollution is linked to 30,000 deaths in the UK every year.

“I walk to school next to the road and can taste the petrol when buses come through,” she said.

Her prize is a working prototype of her backpack. Eleanor hopes that it will not be the only one that gets made.

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