There is a very interesting exhibition that recently took place in Geneva, Switzerland, that I believe would be of high interest to our Solvers. The 39th International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products (aka “the world’s largest marketplace for inventions”), devoted to inventions – devices and products that range from useful to the bizarre – just took place from April 6-10th.
Inventors & innovators from around the world gathered in Geneva every year to highlight their “brainchild” products in the hopes of attracting buyers or investors. These inventors were either groups representing companies and universities, some were independent researchers and some were individuals, like our Solver “tinkerers,” who simply had good ideas that they took the time and effort to translate into prototypes and products.
This year, there were 765 creative hopefuls from 45 countries displaying 1000 wonderful, wacky and downright wonky gadgets. The variety of applications was mind-numbing, as were the impulses behind these creations. One gentleman created a “self-making bed” that spreads its own bed-sheets at the push of a button. His reasoning was a beautiful combination of altruism – to help people who are unable to move easily and therefore make their beds – and self-serving – he claimed laziness! Another person created an artificial nose-hair device to help ward-off his antihistamine-hating wife’s allergies. A Frenchman who runs a retirement home felt bad that many of his horticulture-loving residents couldn’t work in the garden because bending over was difficult. He designed a vertical garden – a pyramidal wooden framework full of soil & plants.
Many devices had environmental, medical, and labor-intensive applications. Some were a little more whimsical. There was the “fastest shrimp peeling device ever invented” because the creator loved shrimps but hated peeling them, and a delightful little alarm-clock that ran around the room when it’s alarm went off, forcing the sleepy-head to get out of bed to catch offending time-piece in order to switch of the clamor.
Some other inventions that caught my eye were:
- A “super smart boot” created by Iranian Payman Sarhadi. The boots can cool or heat the feet, measure radiation levels and collect air temperature, humidity, location and blood pressure data, and then transmit it back to a base camp. It is, as Paymen surmised, “useful.”
- Emanuele Lopopolo of Italy presented a portable backrest that allows its wearer to take a break from standing by leaning back onto a telescopic pole.
- Taiwan's Juang Ying-Shen show-cased her high heel pumps with interchangeable components (like different heels).
- An oven-like machine from a South Korean inventor that dries kitchen garbage to eliminate bacteria and odor and turn it into a solid fuel. Heeja Lee already sells this machine in Asia.
There is even a competition at the exhibition. This year’s Grand Prix prize when to Swiss native Mr. Louis Conzett and his company AYTON for a new system that protects housing against floods.
The event sounds like the very place for our inventive Solvers to gather and show-off their creations. An invention must be patented and it can be submitted only once to the show. The exhibition apparently always takes place in Geneva, and the website (www.inventions-geneva.ch) has all the application forms. Check it out – who knows, maybe next year our very own InnoCentive Solver will be the Grand Prix winner.