Teen inventor is finalist in international contest

Jan. 31, 2013 @ 04:49 PM

Chase Lewis, 13, who invented the “Refugee Travois,” which can be used to transport sick and starving children to refugee camps, is a finalist in the ePals/Smithsonian “Invent It Challenge 2012, an international invention competition.

Lewis, who is home-schooled, invented the device during the Somali famine, when hundreds of children were left by the roadside to die when they became too weak to walk and their parents could no longer carry them.

The competition features finalists from all over the world, including India, Taiwan, Turkey and France.

The winner will be selected by the number of votes he or she receives, and the winner will win a patent application, which the Smithsonian will file in the inventor’s name.

Voting ends Sunday. To vote, go to:  http://en.community.epals.com/smithsonian_on_epals/p/inventionchallenge2012epalschoice.aspx  

The Refugee Travois is also one of the 10 national finalists in the 2012 Discovery/3M “Young Scientist Challenge,” and Lewis’s invention has the possibility of becoming a reality.

A company in Washington is supplying wheels for free and has offered financial and technical support, and a company that sells products for mothers and babies is going to feature the Refugee Travois on its website.

An anonymous donor in Raleigh has also supported his efforts, and Lewis is preparing informational packets for the Gates and Clinton foundations.