Emily Duffy, a 16-year-old from Limerick, Ireland, has invented a lightweight sleeping bag that improves the quality of life for homeless individuals. She is helping the underprivileged in more ways than one. The idea came to her when she was doing a fundraiser for a homeless shelter. “I wanted to develop a sleeping bag that would solve some of the problems with existing cloth bags,” said Emily in a report in The Huffington Post.
The bag, dubbed “The Duffily Bag,” utilises inexpensive materials in impressive ways. Emily replaced cloth, which becomes damp when it rains, with metallic bubble wrap. The material is lightweight, waterproof and the trapped air bubbles help increase warmth throughout bag. A fire resistant coating was added to the bubble wrap and waterproof metallic tape seals the seams. The exterior of the bag also boasts reflective strips that increase visibility at night. Velcro openings throughout the bag allow the user to quickly enter and leave the bag if necessary, and an added pouch meant to keep clothing dry turns into a pillow once filled. Duffy tested a prototype of the bag herself.
“It is lightweight and designed to last. It will last many years and much longer than a conventional sleeping bag”, said Emily.
Emily showed her bag at the 2015 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition, a young scientist convention, and 12 months later the pragmatic Duffily Bag was being put to practical use on the streets of Dublin. The Mendicity Institute in Dublin 8, a charity that offers poverty relief, started a programme in which homeless people are paid 20 euros (roughly $22) for two hours of work to make the bags, offering them an opportunity to get off the streets.
Judge, who got permission from Emily to manufacture the bags, is slowly improving them based on comments from the homeless community.