Chapel Hill resident and inventor, Chase Lewis, has now patented one of his two latest inventions at the age of 14. These two inventions are the Rescue Travois and a football-shaped canister for smoke masks.

Lewis has won numerous awards from various science fairs and events for his inventions, including the Presidential Volunteer Service Silver Award. He is utilizing the prize money earned from these science fairs to fund his creations.

The first of the two inventions, the Rescue Travois, was inspired after Lewis researched the Somalian famines and parents’ inability to carry sick or hurt children to refugee camps and hospitals. The invention is a simple mechanism that resembles a long tarp or blanket on wheels that can be attached by a vest. The person can then pull along sick or injured individuals for extended distances.

The other invention is a small, football-shaped object that can be opened and sealed to hold smoke masks. Lewis intends for the device to be used by firefighters to be lobbed with ease into out-of-reach windows for victims of the fire. Once the individuals open the device, they can immediately don the smoke masks for protection from smoke inhalation until they can be rescued.

While working on this invention, Lewis tested it in collaboration with different fire departments throughout Orange County to make sure the device’s design was as effective as possible. Deputy Chief of the Chapel Hill Fire Department, Matt Lawrence, explains:

“What we helped him do, based on the different designs and pretty scientific work that he was doing, we came up with a design that was the most accurate and the most effective in delivering the device,” says Lawrence. “I believe that is what his focus was, and now he has come to a design through the testing process has come out as the best system.”

Lawrence says he admires Lewis and his pursuits to make the world a better place through his inventions.

“He is a very smart kid and very interested helping other people, and finding things that make life better for a lot of folks,” says Lawrence.

Going forward, Lewis is continuing to develop new ideas for creation and patenting. His latest announced project is to create a new type of Kevlar body armor that is both long-lasting after multiple uses and does not present the risk of shrapnel or blunt force trauma for the wearer.