Emily Duffy, a 15-year-old from Limerick, Dublin, may be young in years, but already is light years ahead of the average person in helping out mankind.
The teen's new invention of sleeping bags for the homeless is helping to save lives.
Duffy, an aspiring scientist, designed the waterproof and fireproof sleeping bags for the homeless. They not only work well in all kinds of weather conditions, but also have many clever safety features, such as being very easy to spot so a person isn't run over on a sidewalk.
The teen, who is also participating in her third Young Scientist event, said, “I wanted to develop a sleeping bag that would solve some of the problems with existing cloth bags.”
Duffy came up with the idea after fundraising for the homeless when she spent a day experiencing some of the conditions a homeless person might while living on the streets. Seeing the hazards firsthand, Duffy's mind began to churn out ideas.
The bag, which has been nicknamed the "Duffily bag," is made of metallic fireproof bubble wrap to provide a waterproof layer for people sleeping on rain-soaked streets. She also added reflective strips to increase visibility at night and Velcro openings so the person can escape from the bag very quickly if necessary.
“It is lightweight and designed to last,” she said of her prototype bag. “It will last many years and much longer than a conventional sleeping bag.”
What's more, homeless people are being employed to manufacture these bags thereby giving them jobs as well. This is to encourage them to maintain employment and help out those still living on the streets.
This is not the first practical and innovative product from Duffy. Last year, she produced a disposable nappy that can alert parents to their babies' illnesses as well.