FACT CHECK: Video Claims A 15-Year-Old Orphan Invented A ‘Cost-Free’ Air Conditioning Device

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims a 15-year-old orphan named Billy recently created a “cost-free” portable air conditioning device.

Verdict: False

The video uses footage from a short documentary about a 14-year-old computer programming prodigy. The air conditioning device is not “cost-free” and appears to be sold by a Hong Kong-based company.

Fact Check:

The video, titled “How To Cool Any Room Without Expensive AC,” tells the story of a supposed orphan named Billy from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who allegedly designed a “cost-free” portable device that can quickly and effectively cool rooms.

“A 15 year old just destroyed the billion dollar air-con industry with a device that pumps out ice-cool air for barely a dime,” text in the video states, showing footage of the purported young inventor. “After word got out about what he’d made… top colleges fought for the chance to give him a scholarship.”

While the device, called the Blaux Portable AC, is a real air conditioning unit, it is not “cost-free” and appears to sell for about $125, according to the official website. The backstory of it being invented by a 15-year-old orphan appears to have been fabricated. No mention of Billy is included on the company website. Nor did an internet search by the Daily Caller find any credible record of a 15-year-old orphan inventing such an air conditioning unit.

The footage of the young person identified as Billy in the video was actually taken from a short 2013 YouTube documentary about a computer programmer named Santiago Gonzalez, who was a 14-year-old student at the Colorado School of Mines at the time of filming. Gonzalez’s parents appear in the documentary, proving that he wasn’t an orphan.

Gonzalez, whose Twitter profile now lists him as 22 years old, replied to a tweet on July 5 about misuse of the documentary’s footage, saying, “Apparently I’m also an orphan from Albuquerque; crazy how these scammers know more about my life than me.” (RELATED: Did An 11 Year-Old ‘Shark Tank’ Contestant Invent A Device To Give The World Free Wi-Fi?)

The Blaux Portable AC appears to be sold by the Hong Kong-based company Strong Current Enterprises Limited. Strong Currents Enterprises did not respond to a request for comment.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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