It's the final week of our free Inventing the 21st Century exhibition so hurry if you want the chance to touch some cool products and see and hear about them. We've just added photos of the exhibits on Flickr's British Library photostream.
We wanted some interaction: so we came up with Invent it !, where we invited visitors to the exhibition to submit on slips of paper their ideas for what inventions were needed (not the solutions). They are then put on large clips so that others can read them.
We had a large and interesting response, and Mark Sheahan, our Inventor in Residence, has listed his favourites on the Invent it ! web page. Further suggestions can be made by the public on the Facebook page linked to there.
I've had a look at a hefty pile of suggestions, some distinctly thought-provoking. Here are some of them:
A pen that spell checks as it writes
A device that can turn other people's phones off if they talk too loudly on the tube
A means to enable learning by osmosis
A silent electric kettle so that I can listen to the radio while preparing breakfast
Heated hats and gloves
Some suggestions already have patented solutions -- heated gloves certainly exist.
It's been a privilege to curate the exhibition. We hoped to entertain, stimulate and educate. Above all, to inspire. I often heard discussion of inventions as I walked through, with comments on what they liked or didn't like, or thoughts about alterations to the products. Much innovation is based on precisely that: looking at existing technology and thinking of variations to make it cheaper or better.
I particularly liked it when an eight-year old was showing his two friends the video of the Lifesaver® water filter, and excitedly saying "watch out for this" when gunge was poured into the filter, and sparkling water resulted. Youth are the inventors of tomorrow, after all.