Kids' craziest inventions become reality

In a world where we think nothing new can be created, inventors like Dominic Wilcox come and shatter that thought to pieces.

From the Series


Somewhere in the space between totally off-the-wall unconventional thinking and relative “normality” is Dominic Wilcox. He’s been known to find his way around in a stained glass self-driving cars, or sporting brogue shoes with a built in GPS system. When he’s hungry he wears a tummy rumble to amplify the sound of his hungry belly and listening to a recording of the busy sounds of London. In his most recent project, Wilcox has enabled children to actually create their wildest inventions.

As an artist, designer, inventor and speaker at last year's Design Indaba conference, Wilcox channels weird ideas to create thought-provoking objects. He is convinced that everything around us is teaming with different, inspiring ideas and connections that are waiting to be found.

Wilcox looks at the world around him with a fresh perspective, says designer Thomas Heatherwick on Wilcox’s website: “Dominic presents serious challenges to the real world to keep looking at itself with innocent eyes”.

This innocence and eagerness to create the unusual has ushered in one Wilcox’s most entertaining endeavors to date: The Inventor’s Project.

In 2015 Wilcox returned to his hometown of Sunderland in England and asked 450 children and adults to draw their own wildest inventions, which he would then assist in making a reality. He helped get their creative juices flowing by giving them some direction – saying they should think of a problem they or a family membered had and should create an invention to solve this problem.

He received over 600 entries for the project, some were weird, others crazy but most of them wickedly creative. Wilcox chose 60 entries he considered to have potential and approached local manufacturers such as Makerspace Newcastle, Fablab Sunderland and Attaya Projects to build their inventions. Over the next four weeks these young inventors watched as their drawings came to life.


Wilcox said that instead of sticking the pictures on the fridges, it would be more fun to have the kids’ drawings properly manufactured. The final products included: umbrellas for lady bugs; a high-five machine to help you celebrate a victory when no one is around; a food-cooling fork to save your tongue; and a family-size scooter.

An exhibition was held during January 2016 in Sunderland showcasing the manufactured inventions. According to Wilcox: “Its about taking the power of a child imaginations seriously and seeing where it leads to”.



Watch the Talk with Dominic Wilcox