Year-8 student Nicole Hirst has invented a travel support to be used by people with narcolepsy, a project that has won her a place at the finals of this year’s prestigious TeenTech Awards. She will present her Narcolepsy Sleep Support Cushion to judges at a day-long event at the Royal Society in London on Monday 26 June.
Nicole, now 13-years-old, has suffered with narcolepsy since the age of seven. “I am always trying to come up with different ideas to help me with my day-to-day life,” she says. “One of the greatest problems I have is being able to stay in one position when I fall asleep in the car. My heads lolls forwards and sweeps side to side.” It was this that gave her the idea for her invention, a combined cushion and adjustable head-rest that promises safer and more restful sleep during car journeys.
Teen Tech is an award winning, industry-led organisation founded in 2008 by Maggie Philbin and Chris Dodson to help the “X Factor” generation understand their true potential and the real opportunities available in the contemporary workplace. The TeenTech Awards are for UK students from 11-16 (Years 7 to 11) and 17-18 (Years 12 to 13) working in teams of up to three to look at problems large and small to see if they can find a better way of doing things.
Nicole’s invention is entered into the Health category. The winner of each category will receive £1000 for their school and will be presented with their award by TeenTech patron HRH Duke of York at Buckingham Palace.