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 was unveiled on the 17th March at the Science Museum, where it will be on display until the beginning of the school summer holidays.
Finlay’s idea was inspired by seeing his Nan struggle with the stairs and getting on buses, and his Aunt who uses a wheelchair. Finlay’s attention to detail wowed the judges as he specified that the wheelchair was to be made using carbon fibre for the frame and with titanium wheels. By using magnetics, the idea was designed to assist wheelchair users get upstairs and on trains and buses without needing to ask for help.
Finlay has also been awarded the honorary position as Children’s Inspiration Officer at the Science Museum for a day – where he enjoyed 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 this award-winning design marks the culmination of the first Young Imagineers competition where 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 Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
And the youngest and most curious minds certainly came forward! From Devon to the Ilse of Islay, there were hundreds of entries. From prosthetic legs for slugs and cookies that make people fall in love with you, to devices that find lost dogs and robots that help the elderly, the imagination and innovation of the UK’s Young Imagineers was outstanding.
A shortlisted ten entrants presented their ideas to our expert panel, Steph McGovern, Jill Tully, Lopa Patel and Greg Foot, as well as a live audience on the 18th November. 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. Popular 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 states: “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, Young Imagineer 2017 said: “I can’t believe it! Seeing my invention come to life is amazing – and not something I could have ever imagined.”