Swansea Bay inventors strike gold at Geneva

Swansea Bay inventors are amongst a number from Wales to strike gold at this year’s International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva winning fourteen medals as well as two of the overall top prizes.

The final tally was six gold medals, five silver medals and three bronze medals – with every invention from Wales winning a medal.

The Exhibition – the largest in Europe – attracted 1000 inventions from all over the world and around 70,000 visitors including industrialists, distributors and business people looking for new products and inventions to market.

The inventors from Wales not only beat off stiff competition from independent inventors, companies and research institutes and universities but also notched up sales, signed distribution or licensing deals and in talks with interested parties.

The Sports Injury Rehabilitation Assistant (SIRA) – the first powered stretching machine of its kind – earned Robert Clarke and John Lockwood of Gorseinon, a gold medal in the medical equipment category. It was also awarded The World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Gold Medal for Best Inventors 2010 –the first time in its fifteen years history that this award has been won by the UK.

Matt Davies’ Yoke Shopper won the gold medal in its category and was the judges’ choice for the Industrial Design of the Year Award.

Robert Clarke and John Lockwood, who run Sportfit, took orders for eight units, secured distributors and in talks with distributors representing most European countries as well as the US and South America.

Robert Clarke, who runs his own fitness centre, missed the awards ceremony as he flew back to run the London Marathon in 5 hours 18 minutes (one minute off his personal best of 5 hours 17 mins) after attending the show for three days.

The Yoke Shopper, a simple but clever device that enables shoppers to carry numerous carrier bags and remain hands-free, created considerable interest.

Its inventor Matt Davies, from St Asaph, said he is in discussions with retailers and distributors from France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, India, Korea, Austria, Germany, Brazil, Israel and US.

The inventors have had support in developing and exhibiting their products through the Welsh Assembly Government’s Business Innovation programme which is part funded by the European Union.

Lesley Griffiths, Deputy Minister for Science, Innovation and Skills, has welcomed the news and congratulated the winners.

“It’s great news to hear that the innovative products from Welsh entrepreneurs have been officially recognised and singled out from inventions submitted from all over the world.

“I am also pleased the Assembly Government is supporting these enterprising inventors to develop their products and that many have already gone on to set up their own businesses.

“We need people with bright ideas and Business Innovation support – part of the Flexible Support for Business service – is helping turn these into real commercial propositions.”

Gold Medal winners:

  • T-Box, a cardboard carrier system for trolleys designed to replace plastic bags in supermarkets – an invention by John Chichester of Cardiff;
  • Zerochromat, a lightweight ultra-high performance telescope using inexpensive commonly available glass types. An invention by Peter Wise of Abergele.
  • Memseal, a re-useable device for pharmaceutical packaging that can indicate if the package has been tampered with but can also be used to remind people when to take their medication. An invention by Ray Methuen, of Gwent Electronic Services, Pontypool.
  • Cadarn Talon, a robust rescue and mooring device that can be used in hand or in conjunction with a boat hook for greater reach. An invention by Rob Stone of Wenvoe, near Cardiff

Silver medal winners

  • Cook-A-Long, an adjustable kitchen worktop for children that fits into a standard kitchen drawer, an idea developed by designers Luke Khan and Warren Fauvel.
  • Laptek, a laptop bag that converts into a mobile workstation, an invention by Ceri Davies of Neath.
  • Tourniquet Torch, a novel two-in-one medical device that consists of a tourniquet with a built in torch, developed by surgeon Dr Stratos Sofos of Rhyl.
  • Litter Gripper, a device that effectively turns a refuse bag into a dustpan invented by John Barrett of Newport.
  • Soccer Trolley, a compact trolley specifically designed to carry everything a soccer coach needs for match days, developed by ex professional footballer Lee Jenkins of Aberystwyth.

Bronze medal winners

  • Bra Angel, a DIY repair kit for underwire bras that come adrift, an invention from Scott Dutton of Barry.
  • Sent & Meant, a one-piece greeting card within a frame designed by Bridget Docking of little Mill, Pontypool
  • Decorad, a device to lift radiators off their hangers to allow easy access for cleaning, decorating or maintenance, an invention by Gordon and Janine James of Ammanford.

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Business Innovation Support
Business Innovation support forms part of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Flexible Support for Business programme and part financed by the European Union’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund.

Business Innovation support is available to help businesses and individuals:

  • Create and commercialise new products and processes ;
  • Increase efficiency in manufacturing through technology & process improvement ;
  • Introduce design for new product development and manufacture ;
  • Identify, protect and exploit intellectual property.

The £36 million pound project provides an integrated package of support for Innovation, Design and Manufacturing to help companies identify opportunities for business improvement and growth.

Over the next 6 years, the project aims to launch 630 new products and processes resulting in the creation of 180 new young innovative enterprises.

It is expected that these 180 young companies will be created through dedicated assistance to at least 540 individuals to help them develop, protect and commercialise their ideas over the duration of the project.

Welsh Assembly Government Press Release, 26th April 2010.

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