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Young innovators

Gen-I: showcasing the diversity of the future

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Springwise explores the world of opportunities open to us in the future through the current work of next-generation innovators.

To stay up to date on innovation, we must always be looking to the future. But who is building that future? Student innovators have brought us a myriad of different innovations that promise exciting developments in years to come. These range widely from a diagnostic mirror to a sleek portable cooking set. Springwise have gathered together a sample of young innovators from the Royal College of Arts (RCA) who showcase just how diverse their generation’s imagination can be.

Marcus Kung saw his opportunity to update a current technology favourite: the drone. While increasingly popular, there is a danger arising alongside their take-off in public esteem. The propellers on a standard drone often cause injury to both users and onlookers, especially when piloted by amateur enthusiasts. To combat this, Kung has developed a propellerless drone.

The alternative impeller system sucks in air through vents and expels it through a circular duct. This creates an upward thrust that propels the drone. Impeller Drone is far lighter and quieter than its peers. While it doesn’t have the same motor efficiency as traditional designs yet, Kung is confident about future product development.

Another fresh take on a traditional idea is Will Fazackerley’s experimental tableware collection. Wanting to bring fun back to food, Fazackerley’s tools encourage users to eat not out of necessity, but for pleasure. The two tools, Slurp and Lick, come together to form Nourish.

Slurp is a large drinking vessel, intentionally heavy and hard to place on a flat surface. This therefore encourages users to pick it up and drink from the small opening. The shape focuses the escape of scent and heat from the food inside, enticing the user in to the experience of eating. Lick is a set of two tools, designed for foods like mousses, ganache, risotto, and ice cream. The gently curved stones reflect the act of licking a plate at the end of a meal.

It’s not only objects that need the occasional innovative revamping though; Matteo Bandi created Sidekicks to revitalise our daily routine. This collection of objects is designed to beat smartphone addiction. Each device only works when connected to a smartphone, forcing users to step away from their gadgets to use the Sidekicks. They include an alarm clock, projector, speaker, and a lamp. The moment the user tries to use their phone, the Sidekicks stop working.

The range of objects are designed to cover both work and leisure hours. All four are controlled via an app, and are activated when the phone is plugged in. Users can also see the amount of time they have spent on their phone that day. There is also the option to set targets for how long users want to be phone-free. Successfully reaching a target revels hidden functions within the objects as rewards. Born from a desire to live in the moment, Sidekicks is a creative way to bring balance to the place of technology in modern life.

Some students sought to go even further with their innovations, applying their initiative to other species. Previously featured by Springwise, Duncan Carter, Mick Geerits, Arthur Gouillart and Eirini Malliaraki worked together to create advanced, responsive bio-logging tags for humpback whales and collared peccaries. The tags not only inform humans of marine behaviour, but also work to help marine animals survive human threats. For example, one device, attached through non-invasive suction cups, has a speaker to warn whales of approaching ships, averting potential collisions.

This approach to conservation through hands-on methods, rather than reducing human intervention, is unusual but effective. The tags encourage both the whales and the pig-like peccaries to create habitats away from human threat zone. This tactic could signal a new wave in human-animal cooperation. The tags are still undergoing tests to ensure they are safe and effective but are a prime example of the powerful combination of innovative technology with innovative thinking.

Many claim to have put their blood, sweat and tears into their projects, but perhaps no one can say that as truthfully as Alice Potts. Interested in the concept of how human bodies could eventually accessorize themselves, she illustrated this idea by using crystals formed from human sweat to decorate her work. Every crystal is unique, as sweat is unique to every individual, and reflects the diversity of humans.

Adorning a set of ballet pumps and a faux fur coat at the RCA’s exhibition, Potts collected the base materials from her friends. The crystals aim to replace plastic embellishments, acting as a sustainable and unusual alternative to fast fashion. The process itself has been kept under wraps, but Potts suggests that the concept could be used in a variety of other fields, such as in detecting high blood sugar levels in diabetes.

The wide variety of innovations coming out of even just one group of students from the RCA highlights how creative the younger generation of scientists and creators are. Springwise are keen to follow the paths of young innovators like them, and will continue to explore such discoveries in the future.