According to the BBC, every year the UK generates over 25,000 patents, trademarks, and design rights for new products and services.
(The British Library is hosting an exhibition of the top 15 British inventions in the past 10 years, these are:-
The Double Broom – A twin-headed broom invented by 5 year old Samuel Houghton after watching his dad struggle to sweep up leaves in his back garden.
Karbon Kinetics Gocycle – An innovative folding electric bike which allows users to use the power assist for up to an hour without between charges – reaching speeds of up to 15 mph – or ride using old-fashioned pedal power for as long as their stamina permits.
SeaRaser Wave Power Generator – A self cleaning, low maintenance wave energy device that exploits the energy of the sea’s waves to pressurise water through a system of floating pistons to generate power. Creators Dartmouth Wave Energy Limited say 11,000 units could generate enough power for the whole of the UK and reduce energy bills by as much as 75 per cent.
Magnamole DIY Solution – This one was a Dragon’s Den winner: It enables building contractors and home improvement enthusiasts to route cables through cavity walls more quickly, easily and perhaps most importantly more safely.
Money Saving Ewgeco Energy Monitor – Attached to a domestic or commercial power supply, this clever device with an easy-to understand traffic light warning system is a one stop shop for makes monitoring all of your household utilities consumption.
Yoomi Self-warming Baby Bottle – At the press of a button this innovative baby bottle warms baby milk to the perfect temperature every time, wherever and whenever required. Using a rechargeable warming device, the milk is heated using a series of channels on the outside of the warmer – heating just the milk required on demand, while keeping the rest fresh.
All Terrain Trendy Trekinetic Wheelchair – A funky-looking ‘off road’ wheelchair With a wide wheelbase and a shock absorbing rear wheel, the Trekinetic gives wheelchair users access to a whole new range of spaces and environments.
Road Refresher Dog Bowl – A specially designed water bowl for dogs, the Road Refresher means dogs can still drink on long road journeys without flooding the back of the car. Despite having failed to win investment from the Dragon’s Den, inventor Natalie Ellis has gone on to crack the US market with her product – even the White House now has one!
Pop Open Packaging – Packaging involves many often unseen innovations to ensure a cheap yet reliable product. Developed by the British Library’s own Inventor in Residence, Mark Sheahan, Pop-i packaging provides easy access, re-sealable containers for all sorts of confectionery and cosmetics products.
Speedo’s Shark Inspired Swimsuit – At the 2008 Beijing Olympics 94 per cent of swimming events were won by competitors wearing Speedo’s high-tech new swimsuits. Designed to improve race times by up to 4%, the cutting edge, water repellent design has been so effective that as of this year the suits are now banned from international competition amid allegations of ‘technological doping’.
Dyson’s Bladeless Fan – This latest product from the company best known for having revolutionised vacuum cleaner design uses an airfoil-shaped ramp (like a cross-section through an aeroplane wing), airflow is amplified 15 times. This creates a smooth, powerful airflow, with no need for fast-spinning blades.
Mosquito Security System – Emitting an irritating high-pitched series of sonic pulses, from 15.5 to 17.5kHz – frequencies which usually can only be heard by young people – this controversial device was designed to tackle anti-social behaviour by preventing undesired groups of teenagers from forming in public places.
Lifesaver Portable Water Filter – Using a triple filter pump activated system to remove dirt. bacteria, viruses and other contaminants, Michael Pritchard’s chemical free Lifesaver is literally saving lives – providing a ready source of potable water for people caught up in natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes.
Revolutionary Retinal Scanner – Using an ellipsoidal mirror to reflect a laser beam and provide high-resolution images in a single scan, the Optos retinal scanner has now been used in over 24 million eye examinations world wide and even helped to save the sight of one of the inventor’s sons.
Rail Track Leaf Laser – In 1999 Railtrack announced they had spent £50 million tackling the disruption caused by autumn leaves, concluding that they could ‘never beat nature’ and relying on the costly method of ‘lineside vegetation management’. Unwilling to give up on the challenge, LaserThor have developed a much cheaper system of lasers and mirrors to blast debris from the line. The system has yet to be tested against the ‘wrong kind of leaves’ in a commercial environment.)