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Interview: Young Innovator of the Year - Freddie Howells

GCSE student, Freddie Howells was named this year’s C2I Young Innovator of the Year for his ‘Fall Alert’ device that alerts a family member or carer when an elderly person falls over. However, this isn’t Freddie’s first success, at the age of 12 Freddie developed a facial recognition door entry system to protect his great aunt Pat who suffered from dementia, alongside a suite of home monitoring technologies to compliment this. This project, Door Pi saw him win the C2I Young Innovator of the Year award back in 2019 as well as be nominated as a BT Young Pioneer Finalist.

We took the chance to speak to Freddie about his inspirations and aspirations following his success with previous projects.

Q. What is it that inspires your projects?

A. “Unlike a lot of people my age, I am not particularly interested in game development, but rather I have found that my motivation for my projects is to create something that solves a genuine problem, particularly when it is for people that are close to me. Having the chance to make a genuine difference to someone’s life, and potentially many other people with similar issues gives me the motivation to work harder and keep going when I run into challenges.”


Q. What has been your favourite creation so far and why?

A. “My favourite creation so far is probably Door Pi, because it was my first big project, that possibly had the capability to really help other people. I think I was so inspired by this project because it had a real purpose and was inspired by someone close to me and had the potential to fulfil a need and really fill a gap in the market.”

You can read more about Freddie’s Door Pi project here:


Q. How do you find working with SOLIDWORKS?

A. “I have found SOLIDWORKS far better than other CAD programmes I’ve had access to. The SOLIDWORKS Essentials course was really clear and helpful and I have found SOLIDWORKS programme far superior to the online applications that are available. The features available in SOLIDWORKS are easy to apply but diverse and multi-faceted and have been invaluable in creating professional designs and producing quality images for my portfolio for DT GCSE as well as creating workable prototypes for my projects.”


Q. How do you balance these creations with your studies?

A. “Up until recently, working on my own projects has been a pleasant distraction from schoolwork and has allowed me to challenge myself and explore areas I’m interested in and would potentially like to pursue in the future. Recently the demands of upcoming GCSEs have meant that I largely have to focus on exam preparation, so that is taking priority until mid-June!”


Q. What will your next project be?

A. “I have a couple of avenues I’m hoping to explore when I have time. My grandfather suffered with Parkinson’s and struggled with orthostatic hypotension. I was looking at the possibility of a BP monitoring device that could respond by applying external compression to the legs to aid venous return and elevate blood pressure as necessary. I’m not sure yet whether this is feasible or would actually work, but I would like the time to investigate it further.”


Q. In your opinion, what will be the most exciting innovation we could see in the future?

A. “Currently, I think one of the most exciting innovations is the move towards electrification of planes for passenger use. Obviously at this stage, we are looking at planes that can only fly on batteries for very short distances and time frames due to the size/weight constraints of batteries. I am fascinated to see how the efficiency; storage capacity and size will alter over the next 20 years as I envisage it being somewhat synonymous with the size of the old computers and the changes, we have seen in those since the 1980s. We now have massive storage capacity in wafer-thin batteries, and I anticipate we will be seeing the same change in passenger air transport and possibly space transport in decades to come!”

All of us here at Solid Solutions can’t wait to see what the future holds for Freddie and how his innovations will continue to address real-world issues.

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