A British Library Exhibition Celebrates Innovation 大英图书馆庆祝发明
Have you ever thought of inventing something that could make everyday chores easier? Sam Houghton did and he created a double-headed broom.
Sam was just three years old when he came up with his idea. He was watching his father sweep up garden leaves and alternate between two brushes while trying to gather large leaves and fine debris.
Now he is the poster boy for a new exhibition at the British Library in London called 'Inventing the 21st Century'.
To celebrate innovation and inspire budding entrepreneurs, the famous library is telling the story behind 15 of what it considers the most ingenious inventions to come out of Britain in the past 10 years. Sam's broom is surrounded by products developed by big companies, like a high-tech swimsuit by Speedo that became popular at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a bladeless fan by Britain's Dyson.
Every year the UK generates over 25,000 patents, trademarks and design rights for new products and services. Many of the inventors have to jump through a lot of hoops before they can see their product on the market.
Richard Thorpe, creator of an innovative folding electric bike, says that it took him seven years to go from concept to sales. He explains he had to keep quiet about his idea until it was patented.
"When it comes to innovation and selling an idea confidentiality is key", he warns. "Whenever you are having a meeting with anyone, always have it in a context that this is confidential information and anything said is not in the public domain."
Britain is known for nurturing its entrepreneurial spirit ever since the days of the Industrial Revolution with James Watt, Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen and their work on the steam engine.
And young Sam Houghton is true to this tradition. He is now eight years old and has more inventions in the pipeline.
"I've made a balloon popping machine for play centres", he explains. "After little children's parties we don't want them to cry because of big bangs of balloons."
He said that he "took away the bangs" by creating a box where the balloons can burst without frightening children.