An Irish teenager has designed and built a lightweight sleep bag better suited to help homeless individuals.
After “living rough” for a day on Dublin’s streets to raise money for a charity that helps homeless individuals, student Emily Duffy decided to develop a sleeping bag better suited for those stranded on the streets.
Irish Times reports that Duffy, who is a student of Desmond College in Limerick, began by assessing the shortcoming of exiting bags and, one by one, eliminated them from her novel design.
The final product is a lightweight sleeping bag that boasts a number of clever safety features, and also works well in various environments and conditions. She recently showed off her invention at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in Dublin, which showcased some of the brightest ideas of the country’s young people.
The 15-year-old used waterproof lightweight metallic bubblewrap to replace cloth that can easily become soaked by rain; the air in the bubbles helps to increase the warmth of the bag. Duffy also added fire-resistant coating on the exterior and used waterproof metallic tape to seal the seams.
Because sleeping on the streets can be a dangerous affair, Emily also added reflective strips to increase visibility and Velcro openings in case the person needs to escape from the bag quickly.
A pouch was added which can be used to keep clothing or footwear dry, and it also doubles as a pillow when folded over for sleep.
“I wanted to develop a sleeping bag that would solve some of the problems with existing cloth bags,” said Emily.
The third-year student conducted safety tests and even used the bag herself to ensure it held up to the imagined demands. As she hoped, it is waterproof, provides sufficient warmth, and could potentially save peoples’ lives if they have no other option but to survive outdoors.
“It is lightweight and designed to last. It will last many years and much longer than a conventional sleeping bag,” Duffy said of the prototype.
In addition to developing a superior sleeping bag, Duffy is also helping former homeless people rebuild their lives. Reportedly, individuals are producing the fireproof and waterproof bags for $10 an hour at the Mendicity Institution — a homeless service center in Dublin.
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