In November 2017, Finlay Minter from Surrey was crowned Statoil’s Young Imagineer, following a nationwide competition which saw hundreds of entries submitted. His award-winning hover wheelchair design has now been brought to life by professional designers and unveiled at the Science Museum, where it will be on display for a month.
Finlay’s idea was inspired by seeing his nan struggle with the stairs and getting on buses, and his aunt, who uses a wheelchair. His attention to detail wowed the judges as he specified that the wheelchair was to be made using carbon fibre for the frame and titanium for the wheels. Using magnetics, the idea was designed to assist wheelchair users get upstairs and on trains and buses without needing to ask for help.
Finlay will also be awarded the honorary position of Children’s Inspiration Officer at the Science Museum for a day, seeing him enjoy an exclusive tour of the museum with a friend, lunch with some of the museum’s enthusiastic Explainers, and a host of Science Museum goodies to take home.
The unveiling of his award-winning design marks the culmination of the first Young Imagineers competition. Statoil and the Science Museum asked children across the UK to submit their most creative, imaginative and inspirational ideas to help make the world a better place. The competition was an extension of Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery, and part of Statoil’s efforts to engage the UK’s youngest and most curious minds in STEM.
A shortlisted ten entrants presented their ideas to an expert panel comprising Steph McGovern, Jill Tully, Lopa Patel and Greg Foot, as well as a live audience. With science quizzes and fun experiments, like making bubbles and electricity, the audience was treated to a full day of science before the winner was announced. Science presenter, Dallas Campbell, had the honour of announcing Finlay Minter and his hover wheelchair the overall winners of Young Imagineers 2017.
At the unveiling, Jill Tully, Investment Manager at Statoil Energy Ventures, said: “It’s been amazing to watch this process from start to finish, and I am so pleased to see Finlay’s design come to life. It comes from such a place of love, and I think it’s great to see young children use their imagination to solve problems they see in their daily life”.
Finlay Minter said: “I can’t believe it! Seeing my invention come to life is amazing, and not something I could have ever imagined.”