Amy Thompson presents a roundup of the British Inventors Project at the Gadget Show Live 2016
The British inventors’ project is an opportunity for any inventor to get nationwide notice for their latest invention. The project has been running since 2014 and has seen amazing entrants, with many going on to have great success. Established previous winners included the 2014 winner The InSmart artificial pancreas, an invention that could be used in diabetic patients, which can deliver the correct amount of insulin in response to measuring the body’s sugar levels. Other past entrants included a heated butter knife and a cardboard furniture inventor.
Every year the project receives over 200 entries, which are then whittled down to just 20 finalists by a panel of judges’ including the Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury. Each of these finalists were given a small stand at the Gadget Show this year to show case there inventions, with many of them showing demonstrations throughout the event. This opportunity gives the finalists a chance to gauge the publics’ interests levels surrounding their creations in a bid for many of them to get funding to go towards manufacturing.
A big driving force behind the Gadget Show holding the project is to encourage more inventors to come forward, to ensure that despite, manufacturing moving abroad due to cheap costs, that the brains and innovation within the technology community stay within the UK.
Last year’s winner was also at the show to demonstrate the positive benefits of winning the project. 2015’s winner was the Omniostroller which was created by Samantha Warwick. The invention allows a stroller to be folded up to the size of a bag pack, and comes with straps enabling a parent to carry the stroller around on their back, saving a parent from having to push around an empty stroller all day. Following large amount of publicity the invention got last year the stroller is now in high demand, with thousands of orders waiting to be made.
This year’s winner gets £1000 to use in developing their invention, and also receives a voucher for a commercial stand at the Gadget Show Live event for the following year, which is worth the equivalent of £500. But, unfortunately not everyone can be the winner! This year there were two highly commended inventions; these were Neit Luggage, a hard shell suitcase which can collapse down, making for easier storage and transportation, but still providing the high levels of protection users want from a hard shell suitcase. An invention ideal for students, having to find space for a suitcase which you need when travelling back home can be difficult in a tiny university bedroom, Neit luggage solution may help solve this space consuming problem. And the second highly commended invention was awarded to Milo, a lion toy that can be used to record messages from deployed parents in the armed force, which then can be replayed back to a child as part of a treasure hunt or bedtime routine.
The third place winner was clean Grow, a portable laboratory that can be taken anywhere to analyse soil. The probe that comes in the kit can measure the concentrations of different ions found in the soil samples, enabling soil type and quality to be measured easily without having to wait for samples to return from large industrial laboratories.
Second place went to the VRGO. The VRGO is different to most other virtual reality products as the system is hands free meaning you can move the entirety of your body in response to the virtual world without affecting the experience, simply by tilting your head in different directions to move around the new world, allowing easy exploration without the need to hold on to a remote controller to traverse the terrain.
The winner of this year’s British Inventors Project was the eFoldi, an invention created by Sumi Wang. After collecting her certificate from Jason Bradbury, Wang went on to explain that due to her father’s lack of mobility following an accident a few years ago, she wanted to create something that was motorized allowing her father to have some freedom and independence. The eFoldi is a three-wheeled, battery-powered vehicle, that can be folded away into a piece of luggage or it can even be folded into a chair. This is not like other motorized scooters, as its compact design means it can be easily stored away. With the eFoldi weighting less than 20Kg, and its battery power allowing it to cover over 20km on just once charge, as Jason Bradbury stated “this is the king of motorized scooters”. Inventions like these are vital not just for the old but also for our futures, as we are all living longer, and therefore more people are now older than ever before. The Gadget Show judges thought the invention was vital as an investment in our future, as even we students will become OAPs one day!