Northampton boy wonder Samuel shortlisted for national competition with robo-jellyfish to rid oceans of plastic

Samuel Debenham with his plastic-collecting robo-jellyfish application for the Young Imagineers competition
Samuel Debenham with his plastic-collecting robo-jellyfish application for the Young Imagineers competition

An eight-year-old boy from Northampton is among the shortlist for a national science competition having designed a robot jellyfish to collect plastic from the oceans.

Samuel Debenham submitted his idea to the Young Imagineers contest for seven to 14-year-olds ran by the Science Museum and Broad energy company Equinor in October.

Samuel Debenham's plastic-collecting robo-jellyfish application for the Young Imagineers competition

Samuel Debenham's plastic-collecting robo-jellyfish application for the Young Imagineers competition

Delapre Primary School pupil will pitch his invention at the 'finalists' event at the museum in London on Saturday having impressed the judges to make the final 10.

Samuel's mother Claire said: "I'm really proud of him, he's done remarkably well and I will be really proud again on Saturday even just to be there considering he's one of the youngest finalists."

Young Imagineers celebrates the UK’s most creative young minds in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and asks entrants what invention they would create to make tomorrow’s world a better place.

Claire, from Far Cotton, spotted the competition earlier this year and said Samuel was inspired by recent documentaries by David Attenborough and others about plastic pollution in the oceans.

Samuel said: "I've been watching lots of TV programmes about pollution and I thought, 'why not stop it?'

"It's a jellyfish because it can go in any ocean. So it sucks up water and the driver sits in the cockpit and the tentacles pick up the rubbish and put it in its belly which it uses to power the jellyfish."

They submitted the idea at the end of October and found out Samuel had been shortlisted soon afterwards from more than 2,700 entries - ever since he has been practicing his speech ahead of Saturday.

The event will be hosted by science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and the judges includes broadcaster Konnie Huq, ‘superhero scientist’ Dr Barry Fitzgerald, digital entrepreneur and trustee of the Science Museum Group Lopa Patel and wind farm developer Sophie Banham.

Konnie said: “I’m thrilled to see so many young minds engaging with science, technology, engineering and maths.

"STEM makes creators, thinkers, problem solvers, doers, innovators and inventors.

"Sparking an interest in STEM amongst our children, is key to ensuring our society and our world can progress!

The winner will be announced in early December and will have their idea created as a 3D model and exhibited inside the Science Museum in 2020.

The winner will also receive a bespoke-designed experience day at the museum, an annual pass to Wonderlab: The Equinor Gallery at the Science Museum and 50 copies of the book ‘This Book Thinks You’re A Scientist’ for their school.

Claire said: "We'll just enjoy the day and not expect too much, just to be shortlisted is a massive achievement.

"I'm sure there will be lots of excellent designs from the other children but he's done really well."