Budding inventors swept the board at the latest British Invention Show. Students, alumni and businesspeople who had tapped into expertise at the University’s Enterprise Exchange walked away with a clutch of awards, including the coveted British Inventor of the Year title. The haul also included a platinum award, eight gold medals and one silver.
Leading the way was Dominic Robinson, a graduate of the University’s predecessor Kingston Polytechnic, who was named Inventor of the Year after impressing judges with his concept for a more spacious aircraft seat. A pop-up hood for rainwear secured designer Sarah London platinum and gold medals in the leisure section, while the originators of the Buggy Boot – a holdall that straps to pushchairs to help parents manage heavy shopping – also took centre stage. Young mothers Carolyn Jarvis and Charlotte Evans picked up gold medals for design and invention in the consumer category. Kingston also made a strong showing in the industrial category, with Matthias Luethi claiming golds for innovation and design after creating a prototype for an environmentally-sensitive wind turbine.
Members of the Kingston Round Table of Inventors, a club set up by the University to encourage innovation in the surrounding region, were also applauded for their initiative. They included Andrew Cordani, who won a double gold award in the leisure category after developing an electronic percussion instrument called the Midistick, and businessman Andy Griffin, awarded a gold medal for innovation in the consumer category for devising software to help smokers quit the habit.
Director of Enterprise Marguerite Lipscomb attributes the successes to the University’s commitment to helping inventors transform their initial ideas into marketable products. “We attach great importance to sharing the University’s expertise, not only with students, but also with businesspeople in the wider community so they can come up with innovative solutions to age-old problems,” Mrs Lipscomb said. “So often we are contacted by people who have marvellous ideas but lack the business know-how to get their projects off the ground. By offering specialist advice, helping them source funding and providing access to state-of-the-art facilities, input from the Enterprise Exchange team is able to make a tangible difference as they strive to achieve their goals.”