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STEM-sational Ten-year-old extinguishes competition with winning fire-fighting invention

The IET challenged children to devise a superhero invention that would make a positive impact on the world or people around them – and winner Harry Goodhead’s innovative ‘Multi-Function Drone’ whizzed him into first place.

As part of his prize, world-renowned astronaut – and Harry’s hero – Major Tim Peake presented Harry with a prototype of his invention in a surprise meeting.

He now joins Tim and a team of STEM pioneers as the latest member of the STEM Squad in the IET’s ‘DM Universe’ comic strip – created last year in partnership with acclaimed Marvel artists Andy Lanning and Ant Williams to help get children excited about the world of STEM.

Harry’s invention, the ‘Multi-function Drone’, brings together modern technology and spectacular design to create an exciting addition to the world of firefighting and sustainability.

Fitted with a water hose to put out flames and filter systems to clean polluted air and extract smoke from fire sites, the innovative creation wowed judges with it’s potential to revolutionise disaster responses across the globe.

Harry commented: "I couldn't believe it when I found out I'd won the competition, it made me so happy. It was super cool to meet Tim Peake and I was speechless when he said I was the winner.

Being turned into a comic book hero as part of the STEM squad is unbelievable. The whole thing has made me feel more confident about becoming an astronaut or an engineer in the future!”

Children from across the country showcased their creative talents by submitting a whole host of inventions for the competition – from bio gloves that would control and grow plants, to an eco-gun that fired ‘algae bombs’ to tackle smog.

Some entries were even inspired by assistive technology including the ‘Holo Sign Watch’ that automatically converted speech into sign language using a solar powered hologram feature.

The judging panel, which included former IET President Professor Danielle George MBE, double amputee and bionics expert James Young, mechatronics engineer Dr Matt Dickinson and the comic book artists Andy Lanning and Ant Williams, awarded runner up places to ten-year-old Anna Morton with her ‘Holo Sign Watch’ and Nicolas Pereira, aged nine, with his ‘Algae patriot X6VY’ superhero suit fitted with multiple gadgets to tackle environmental damage including a solar powered ‘smog sucker’.

Founding member of the STEM Squad and IET Honorary Fellow, Major Tim Peake, commented: “I am a huge advocate of getting young people excited about STEM so I couldn’t have been more thrilled to be part of this brilliant campaign with the IET.

Harry is such a well-deserved winner – I’m so impressed by the level of detail and innovation that went into his entry. He’ll be joining the STEM Squad comic strip but, with the aptitude he’s already shown, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him travelling into space at some point in the future!”

The IET’s competition was launched last year to help ignite children’s interest in, and ‘marvel’ at, the world of STEM, following research which revealed an alarming disconnect between children’s love for superheroes and their attitudes towards their engineering alter-egos.

Whilst over 90% of children think superheroes are “cool”, it was their costume and their ability to save the world they admired most as opposed to their intelligence or technical know-how[1].

This worrying finding and a lack of relatable STEM role models also formed the basis of the IET’s ‘Super Realoes’ report which explored why young people feel so differently about the fantasy of superheroes in comparison to the ground-breaking world of real-life STEM heroes.

Reflecting on the campaign, Professor George said: “The response from young people has been really inspiring. The levels of creativity and originality in their efforts to make a positive impact were so impressive – I’d like to thank all those who entered for making our decision very difficult!

Most of all, I hope it’s encouraged them to see that not all superheroes wear capes, but we see real superheroes every day. 

‘Superhero’ technology modernising the world of STEM can lead to inventions that will make the world a better and healthier place in the future, and by encouraging passion in our young people for the subject it makes the future look that little bit brighter.”

To download the full ‘Super-Realoes’ report visit:


[1] What is it that you like most about superheroes? Able to save the world – 49.7%, costume – 35.3%, intelligence – 22.4%, teamwork – 13.4%

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Notes to Editor

About the research

  • The research was conducted by 3Gem from 6th -12th August 2021 – surveying 1,000 children between the ages of 5-13 years old.

About Engineer A Better World

  • Engineer A Better World (EABW) is an annual campaign run by the IET that’s dedicated to celebrating STEM careers and getting young people passionate about becoming the inventors and creators of the future.
  • For this year’s campaign we are looking at STEM through the lens of superheroes to explore the diverging attitudes and affinity towards superheroes and real-life STEM heroes.
  • For more information about EABW please visit:

About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit
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Rebecca Gillick
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Hannah Kellett
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