February 02, 2016

Dominic Wilcox Turns Kids’ Crazy Inventions Into Real Products

We all have brilliant ideas for products that could make certain chores easier to perform if only they could be turned into reality. With that mission in mind, British artist and designer Dominic Wilcox, and an eccentric inventor himself, asked over 450 children to draw and submit their own invention ideas. He then enlisted local local makers and manufacturers to help make a selection of them into real products.

Wilcox’s Inventors Project started last year with a series of workshop in his hometown of Sunderland, England, where he showed children aged 4 to 12 some of his own inventions like his GPS-enabled leather shoes, and “cereal crane” and asked them to think about how to solve design problems that they or family members face.
“I knew that children have a vivid and free spirited way of thinking,” Wilcox told Slate, “so I was interested to see where their ideas would go without limitations.” He taught them how to add arrows and instructions to their sketches, and to think about who their typical user might be.

The children submitted over 600 drawings from which he chose 60 and passed them on to local designers, who transformed the sketches into real, and sometimes functional, objects. Among the products designed are a shout-activated camera, an LED-powered helmet to for kids who are afraid of the dark, a fan-powered food cooler fork that blows cold air on hot food before it goes in your mouth, and a particularly useful Pringles Hook, designed to retrieve the bottommost chips in a tall Pringles can.

The products were displayed in an exhibition held at a vacant shop in Sutherland, and ended last Saturday. Wilcox says the finished objects will then be returned to the young designers.

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