From Diana J. Choyce
Apr 24 - 30, 2000
Close to 700 inventors from 44 countries attended The 28th Annual
International Exhibition of Inventions, New Techniques and Products in Geneva this past
week. The nearly 1,000 inventions they presented ranged from the serious to somewhat
bizarre in areas such as business, architecture, furniture, engineering, computer science,
and consumer goods. Other categories included Environmental protection, sports, games and
toys, medicine, agriculture, photography and many more.
Need a way to remove spiders form your home without killing them? Tony
Allen offers a mechanical brush on a long handle that captures spiders between the
bristles without hurting them. His motivation came from catching spiders in his 12 year
old son's room because his son is afraid of spiders. His exhibit was one of the most
popular at the show. and it is so successful that he is marketing it full time for
$19.00US. And it even includes a plastic practice spider. "We got great public
interest because people don't want to kill spiders. And it means Robert can pick up his
own spiders now," said Allen, who added that he had not managed to get anybody quite
so interested in his latest invention, the scoopabag, for removing dog mess.
Among some of the more interesting inventions were the "Flying
Baby Bottle". This bottle hangs suspended above the crib, without dripping, so baby
can reach it whenever he needs a drink. Also on display were a paper diaper, a stroller
that goes up and down stairs, and a motorized rocker to save those leg muscles during a
long rocking session. In the kitchen you may want to try a perforated rolling pin rolling
pin that lets out a constant trickle of flour. This was presented by Yvonne Bekker from
South Africa to save the frustration of dough sticking to the pin. "It's often women
who come up with things like this. We've just patented it and we'll see how it goes,"
said Bekker, who is also displaying a double-sided cleaning glove. Alf Aarthun from
Norway, presented his "Super Grip", a spring-loaded Christmas tree stand that
sells for $35. "We took 2,000 of them to a small town in Norway and we were sold out
in a week. And over 100 million Christmas trees are sold in Europe every year,"
The exhibition attracted more than 65,000 visitors and prizes were
awarded according to categories. This writer would like to have listed some of the
winners, however I found that the prize list was written in French. If you are able to
read French you can find the list at this URL:
http://www.inventions-geneva.ch/e0prip.html. An international jury of 60 experts examined
all the inventions exhibited in order to award the Exhibition's Grand Prix 2000 as well as
35 special prizes. The exhibition not only provides motivation and reward to the
inventors, but also publicity and possible marketing opportunities. Last years show
provided more than 450 worldwide negotiated licenses worth more than $35,000,000US.
Recognized as the most important event in the world devoted exclusively to invention, the
Geneva Exhibition has become so professional that it is host mainly to research
departments of innovating companies, institutes, State organizations and independent
researchers. The condition to participate is that their inventions must be presented for
the first time in Geneva, and then presented only once. Some inventors find their products
well received. Others find that what they thought were brilliant ideas, have very little
commercial appeal. German Helmut Buchmann was showing off his non-slip toothbrush glass,
which has slots to hold the brush in place while the toothpaste is added. "I think
it's interesting for old people and for young children, and even for those who have only
one arm," Buchmann said. "But the big firms aren't interested because they have
their own laboratories, and they aren't interested in talking with a private person."
A Canadian firm, Quasiturbine, showed a high torque, low RPM, zero
vibration, oil free, fast acceleration, less noisy, less pollutant, and high power density
in volume and weight. This engine can be used for hydraulic, pneumatic, steam, gasoline,
diesel, natural gas purposes. In the computer arena, a company called InfoForm presented a
Macintosh software messaging agent. The company says the application can be used for
transferring numerical or alphanumerical messages on the personal retrieval system such as
TELEPAGE Swiss, Natel D GSM portable phones, Euromessages, etc. and yet is extremely easy
to use. It lets you send messages in Switzerland, Europe or any where else in the world.
Another interesting idea for contact lens wearers, comes form a company in the United
Kingdom. It is described as a flexible double-pronged pincer that fits comfortably into
the hand. It's patented, specially designed inflated rubber tips grip and remove the lens
without damage to either eye or lens. Mark Sheldon, the inventor, says "The beauty of
this product over fingers is that it enables you to view the actual removal process. You
are not blinded to what you are doing and so you feel relaxed and have total control,
something previously impossible."