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New Inventors -

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(generated from captions) THEME MUSIC 'Tonight on The New Inventors... How to quickly get out of a big tank,

but what will save the doctors? doctors save lives And how to stop a bent stop sign.' APPLAUSE Hello there, I'm James O'Loghlin. comes to Sydney Harbour, Also tonight, an iceberg and how did April 1st get its name? First, our caring, yet highly honest and definitely never foolish judges. Bernie Hobbs, Tonight they're science journalist inventor Professor Fiona Wood, our newest judge - surgeon and Welcome. and futurist and author Mark Pesce.

APPLAUSE into oil tanks or milk vats Imagine if your job was to climb to check and repair them. or even sewage plants someone had to come in after you In the past, if you got hurt,

to get you out, but now, you can just get pulled out. essential maintenance 'In many industries, carrying out climbing through a narrow hatch or repair work often involves and working in a confined space.' should you get into trouble. And with only a rope for a lifeline, is on the side, 'But when the entry hatch is a big problem. securing that lifeline And should anything go wrong, their lives on the line. your rescuers are also putting that's fastened securely My invention is a mobile metal arm to provide a secure lifeline above the entry point in a confined space. when you're working to enter and exit, It makes it much easier and support to the worker. and gives better leverage in an emergency, But more importantly, with a single action the worker can be extracted to enter the space. without the need for a rescuer the risk of injury to the worker This significantly reduces and rescuer alike.' on the end of a rope, When your life is hanging is connected to a Smartarm. you want to make sure the other end in Victoria, Please welcome from Portland Frank Zeigler. APPLAUSE With him, our very own Sam. Sammy. Good to see you. G'day, Frank. that contain all sorts of things, Now these vats, the big ones they have to be serviced, oil or milk, whatever, can be a bit dangerous. and going down there be able to get them out there. If people get in trouble, you wanna Safe workplace, That's the name of the game. getting them in and out safely. Let's send our brave, foolish Sam. Ah-ha! No, brave Sam. In there. in there, Sam, it's got all the out-takes environment. so it's a very dangerous toxic And people do this all the time Sam's going in to check it out. around Australia every day. No drama there? Sam, everything all right? (GROANS) Can't breathe. Sam? Let's get him out. Frank, Sam's in trouble. Get him out! Bring the bed over. Let's get him out. You just slip this in next to it. MACHINE CLICKS So that - Right to go! There we go. You pull that. And now we can pull him out. We've got his head! We've got his - There we go.

One, two, three. (GROANS) There we go. Sam's OK, everyone! We've got him.


We can let him off. Well done, Sam. Yeah. Mate, are you all right? You're a tough guy, Sam. Yeah, good. that work at the ABC. That's the sort of people Frank, fantastic work. to the panel. Lovely. Please, thank Sam. Frank, come over APPLAUSE that looked fairly dramatic, Now, Frank, of getting someone out of there but there's no easy way of doing it. and that is sort of a fairly safe way Yes, it is. Well, it's the quickest way.

or two people in... Cos if you've got to send someone in You expose them to the hazard. to 15 or 20 minutes. And it could take up to give effective first aid. So it's too late

your invention? $2,000. How much is it going to cost, $2,000. Bernie? that we're still sending people in Look, Frank, I can't believe to examine the insides of tanks. we've got things electric eels Surely in these days and laser measures, Won't we be doing that soon? isn't that on the horizon? there's still cleaning I think we will. But unfortunately, Right. that has to be done. And no matter how good a eel is, to take the thickness test someone still needs of the confined space. to determine the health other arms like these, The other thing is we've seen other bent steel arms, and those other arms what's the difference between yours in confined spaces? that are around for working The practicality of this arm

or fitting with a bolter, is it can fitted to any flange or a metric hole. whether it be in an imperial hole of getting in, And it gives an easy ergonomic way

getting in. so you don't strain yourself to recover a person And it gives the right angle of the confined space. from the bottom of a walkway, And if Sam had been at the edge with a 30-metre drop to the ground, down to the ground to an ambulance. we could have lowered him straight of flexibility as well. So it offers that degree Has this been in use? Yep. Fiona?

quite successfully and effectively We've started to use it on a gas plant shutdown. and it was used the concept. Our team have put together the money-saving was significant, It was used effectively and more confined spaces open, because you could have fewer crew but increased safety. are quite significant. So the benefits to industry to injury. I'm all for zero tolerance than cure. I think prevention is better to actually extricate someone? But has it been used effectively test the system? Or have you had to really Er, we've tested it in training. And as you know, under the regulations, you actually have to test your emergency procedures in a confined space before you take out a permit and operate in it. So it has been tested significantly in a range of confined spaces, but not in anger, thankfully. Hopefully, it'll never happen. Sam didn't look very well, though. Maybe - He'll be all right. Mark? The most important thing about a piece of safety equipment is that it itself is safe. Now, this is going to be used in a whole bunch of different kinds of environments. So there are environments that will be detrimental to the Smartarm. Not that I can think of. In our original design concept, we looked at compatibility, we looked at static electricity release. In other words, it's not gonna be detrimental or harmful to the environment that it's being used in, we haven't been able to find any. Summing up, Bernie. Frank, the current safety response or safety plan is to send another couple of blokes in after the unconscious one, so...something like this that means two people can lift the weight of a person out safely and quickly is just a massive improvement. I'm with Bernie. Zero tolerance to injury,

keeping people safe first so they can come back to work another day has to be at the top of our list. Or have a holiday. Or have a holiday, absolutely. You've turned a dangerous job into abseiling. Well done. (LAUGHS) Or reverse abseiling. Well done, Frank. Please, thank Frank Zeigler. Well done. Thank you.

APPLAUSE Hey! Way back in 1978, does anyone remember the day there appeared in Sydney Harbour an iceberg? I've always been an inventor. And from about eight years of age, I started building crystal radios, and one of the earliest computers I ever built was a noughts-and-crosses computer. It was out of all telephone parts. I've always considered myself a lateral thinker. And to think, "Is there a different way you can do something?" I remember one day thinking, "Wouldn't it be great to tow an iceberg from Antarctica to Sydney Harbour?" And one of my friends Jerry Noland said, "Dick, April Fools' Day is coming up. Why don't we bring in a fake iceberg?" So that's what we decided to do. We organised a big barge which was covered in white plastic, and then shaving cream and firefighting foam. Then on the morning of April Fools' Day, I got over 200 staff to phone the media, to phone the newspapers, TV stations, saying, "What's coming in through the heads? It looks like an iceberg!" We sailed up Sydney Harbour to the Opera House. And only when we got to the Opera House did we pull the cover off and said, "It's just an April Fools' joke." The reaction we got from the iceberg stunt was absolutely amazing. The publicity went right around the world. There are a lot of good ideas around, but to have one you can make money out of, that's the difficult one. It's hard to make money out of... ..pretending to float an iceberg into Sydney Harbour. But a great fantastic idea nonetheless. You know, it must be great being a doctor. There's the satisfaction of healing the sick, and more importantly the increased self-esteem and feelings of acute importance that comes with wearing

a white coat and a stethoscope and having people wait in line to see you. But it's not all fun being a doctor. Damn it! 'Health workers' face has it of all kinds.

And if it's an aggressive patient or a medical emergency, you need help fast. But hard-wired alert systems are inflexible, and tiny panic buttons are just one more thing in your pocket. We need more options.

The Emergency Alarm System can sit anywhere on your desk. It attaches to your computer and with the software installed, a gentle glow tells you it's ready to help.

A single press will instantly alert all the computers on the network without causing a panic.' It's simple, it's portable, it's cost-effective. My invention helps me stay safe while I'm saving lives. Please welcome from Cooma in New South Wales, Dr Hamish Steiner. APPLAUSE G'day, Hamish. G'day. Now, I mean, this is a real problem that people when they see doctors, they can have psychiatric illnesses, they can be emotionally upset, they can be angry, and sometimes being a doctor can be a dangerous profession. Right? Yeah, that's exactly right. There's been increasing reports of violence against doctors and health workers, nurses, a whole range of things. And most people would never have need to use this, but on the other hand, if you do need to alert someone that someone's getting aggressive or upset in your room, then you can do it in a very low-key way. Someone else can appear and defuse the whole situation very quickly. Absolutely. This is something you hope never to have to use. It's just something that's really nice to have there. It's something that most doctors should have in their room. It just plugs in a computer via a USB port. It can be visible. You can tape it to the underside of the desk. You can have it so it's not in a patient's eye line. And if you start - In fact, I do feel slightly uneasy with you. And if you start sort of looking at me a bit funny, or being a bit aggro, I simply have to push it, and other computers in my network, the receptionist... COMPUTER BEEPS An alert!

They can come in, they know. The situation is defused. Come across to the panel. I'm tired after that demonstration. It's strenuous. It's hard on the finger. And how much are they gonna cost, do you think? Um, at the moment, I'm looking at selling them for about $60 each. That's for the buttons. The software, you can download and install on as many computers in the surgery as you need. You only really want one button if that's all you need. But if you've got ten computers, you really want the software on every computer so that as many people see the alarm as possible.

And you've already sold 200, huh? Yeah, about that. Fantastic! Fiona, you're a doctor, so - Hi, Hamish. I think this is fantastic, because the first thing I see when I walk into the hospital every morning

is a poster saying "We have a zero tolerance to violence." And I think, "You're coming in for help, why would you hit us?"

And so you mentioned yourself that you need more options. And one thing I liked about this is that it looks like a mouse. And so it's not gonna put people off. Is that a deliberate design feature? Not really. The button was just something I found that I could re-use for this. So the design of the button wasn't something I had a lot of input into. But this button's nice. It's got a light in it, so you know it's working. One of the problems of just having a button is you are not quite sure if it works or not. Having a light means you know it's connected. That's just an easy way of checking the whole thing's connected and going, which is a worry with something like this. If it's sitting there for a year, you don't use it. You forget about it. Softwares let all of us down. ALL: Yeah. With 200 being sold, have you had reports of it being used effectively and -? It's been tried for about the last two years. I haven't had a report of anyone needing to use it in anger

or being threatened, the most times is been used is more for a patient emergency. Someone's collapsed in your room or something like that. In my surgery, it's been used a couple of times. Some patients have fallen over or tripped or collapsed at the front desk. And the people out there want help straight away, and they can hit it, and everyone in the surgery's aware that something has happened. The most important part of any alarm system is making sure that it works. So how can I know that when I plug this in, it's actually all working?

Test it. There's a couple of different ways. One surgery that uses it, they have a monthly testing protocol. They actually test it each month and document it, which is a good way of going. On the computer screen, there's a tiny icon on the bottom right-hand corner, and when that's blue and glowing and it's rotating around, you know it's connected and working. You can see other computers on the network. So it's not enough to look at the light to know that. No. Networks are also very finicky things and they can go down and you're unaware of it. So does the software also detect that the network is down? It does. Every couple of minutes, it actually checks that the linkages

between all the computers are working.

And if there's a problem, the icon on the bottom of your screen will actually come up as a big red cross which blinks. So you know, you have to look at it to notice it, but - But you'll know. Yes, you can tell it's happening. Hamish, the last thing you wanna do is you've got someone who's aggro and you're sitting there and sort of go like... And let him see that you're pressing something. And I just thought with the wire attached to it, did you think about making a wireless version so you could have a couple of them around, and just be a bit more discreet. Yeah, the problem with wireless systems, really, is that they need a lot more checking to make sure they're working. And you've got batteries and things like that. I hope never to use this in my room, so... That's one of those things that's nice to sit and forget. For most places, they probably got to put the button on the side of a desk or underneath the desk where you don't actually see it.

The wire can be run along the side of a desk. It's not really obvious.

It could even be a foot pedal, couldn't it? It can, although one practice has done that and someone kept standing on the button, so they changed. (ALL LAUGH) Sit down, Dr Hamish! Everyone kept running into the room, "What's the emergency?" And I was sitting there going - Sorry! Have there been any studies to say what is the most effective position? Whether to wear it on you, whether to have it hidden somewhere on your desk? Not that I'm aware of. I've done a little bit of background reading with these things, and I couldn't find anything really like that. I've had good feedback that just having it there, knowing it's there is a reassurance.

It just makes people feel more confident. I think if you feel more confident in these sort of interactions, probably they go better anyway. If you start getting a bit more worried about things, things can get out of hand. And also, for the patients - if you find,

when you're seeing a doctor, their hand is edging towards the button, you know you have to work on your personality.

That you're being a little - (ALL LAUGH) Summing up, Fiona. The doctor/patient relationship is the Holy Grail and to keep both safe, I think it's fantastic to think about it. For us all to think about it. It puts it in the front of mind and it keeps us all safe. And I think it's great. Well done. I think this is a great use of an existing resource,

which is the fact that all the doctor surgeries have computers and they have networks. So you just leveraged that resource. Very well done. And I reckon if you put together

just a few pointers on how to defuse a situation or something where you download your software just so people get a complete package, that will just be the icing on it. Good on you, Hamish. Good luck with it. Please, thank Dr Hamish Steiner. Good on you. APPLAUSE April 1st, April Fools' Day. Where did April Fools' Day come from? MAN: 'April Fools' Day had its origins in Ancient Rome. In the ancient Roman calendar, the month of April began on the second. In deference to a myth, the goddess Aphrodite supposedly hypnotised Zeus, King of the gods, to make him forget her deeds on the previous day. However, when Pope Pilates the cyclical established the Christian calendar in the 8th century, he reinstated 1st April. But when his encyclicals went up across Europe, locals believed them to be a prank. A tradition that exists to this very day. APPLAUSE Interesting, eh? Learned a lot there. You know what? That package, April Fools... None of that was true. And if you're watching a repeat. Nah. I don't know about you, but whenever I see a bent 'give way' sign, I feel like something's gone wrong in the world, as if order has been replaced by chaos. Good by evil. I find it very disturbing. The world needs straight street signs.

As a council worker, part of our job is fixing bent signs like this. 'Sometimes guys would try and push the poles back into position, and that can cause neck and back pain.

Or you can use a truck. However...' Reversing the truck across the road to get into the best position to attach the blocking tackle can be dangerous. Our invention straightens street poles swiftly and easily. If you can't get a car park nearby, it's easy to carry to the site. The Stem Aligner works a bit like a car-jack on its side. You tie the chain twice around the pole,

and then pump the jack to push the pole back to the vertical position. It straightens a street sign in minutes. Our device is a low-cost solution to a high-risk occupation, a health and safety problem. Please welcome from Sydney Doug Tillingharst and Nemmie Olvina. APPLAUSE Hey, Nemmie. Hi, Doug. Thanks for coming in. Now, it was a problem at Sydney City Council people getting sore backs?

That's correct. From trying to straighten these or when you use trucks, it was hard to get the trucks near. You invented this! Yes, it's a simple but very effective device. It's a jack, isn't it? It is, yes. And to use it, you simply - You can carry it, how much does it weigh, Nemmie? Maybe around 10-12 kilos. OK. So you can carry that, you loop the chain around a couple of times. You put the pole in. And then simply... you go and the jack, this here, will straighten. That's right.

Off you go. Tell me when to stop. Now there? One more.

A couple more. A couple more. I'm enjoying it. All right. There we are. That's close enough, isn't it? That's pretty straight. All right. APPLAUSE All right, fantastic. Leave that there. Well done. All right, come back to the panel, guys. So you're using them at Sydney City Council, trying to get other councils interested. Do they cost much? At this stage, we haven't finalised the figure, but we're estimating up around to $400 to $500. The other advantage is when you use them, lots of people get excited, they gather round. (ALL LAUGH) Isn't that right? They do actually. Yeah!

Instead of you know, being ignored, people suddenly go, "Wow! The council guys!". Mark? So if I'm going to straighten the stem, that's metal. Am I going to be weakening it every time I straighten it? I tend to think that if you do it over half-dozen times, you probably would have metal fatigue set in, depending on the gage of the pipe. But normally we've found that we probably straighten and re-straighten up to five or six times. Bent stems are a bit like graffiti. You fix it, you come back. You fix it, you come back. So it's just an ongoing problem that we have. The thing that I'm concerned about is you could be straightening a stem, and it could snap on you and someone could get hit by a flying stem. Is there a worry about that? Hit by a flying stem? Wow! What a way to go. Not, not really. No. In the past, we found that when the guys used to do it manually, there was more chance that with the metal fatigue, if it's a snapping then, cos you were having your full weight at the shoulder behind it of creating an other OH&S problem. With this, we haven't struck anything like that. No. And because you always gonna have half-a-dozen council guys standing around while you're doing your job. (ALL LAUGH) I'm kidding. No, I'm kidding. All right. Sorry. Now, Nemmie, does it work - You know, some poles aren't just stuck in with cement, they're also stuck into a socket under the ground. Does that work just as effectively? We haven't tried that one yet because in the city, most of the poles are buried underground. You said $500 to buy one. Have you got any figures on what it would save a council in lost-work time? Our estimates are about $150,000

that we're saving the City of Sydney at the moment. How do you work that out? Because nearly all their footways are done in black granite, and if we had to come back there and jackhammer all that out... It'd take a lot of time. Yeah. But not only that, you're looking at about $300 a square metre too, so it's a substantial amount of money. Fiona? Sometimes, people do it by accident. One of my kids hit a post on his bicycle and did himself an awful lot of damage recently.

Can we have his name? (ALL LAUGH) When we went back to look, "Which post did you hit?" Because one of them was seriously bent over. Is there an angle beyond which you can't use this? Probably beyond 30 or 45 degrees, it's hard. Because the jack and then the base get a limited angle only. Some that are on, say 45 degrees, we can straighten up quite easily. And some others, you might find that they just snap. And you got to replace them. Summing up, Mark. Doug, Nemmie, you folks have been straightening stems for years. I look at this invention and it could only have been invented by folks who spent time straightening stems. Well done! I like that it looks like you've broken a jack, and you've made something new our of it. (ALL LAUGH) I think inventions that are simple

are the best kind. Yeah, well done, guys. Thank you very much for coming in. Please thank Doug Tillingharst and Nemmie Olvina. Thank you very much. APPLAUSE Good on you. So who is gonna win tonight? Whoever it is will be in the running to be named our Inventor of the Year. Will it be the extractor person from somewhere they don't wanna be Smartarm? The alert for doctors in trouble Emergency Alarm System?

Or the street signs straightening Stem Aligner? Let's look first at need. Which one does the world need the most? Bernie? Well, for my money, I reckon... ..the one that's the most glaring need is being able to extract people from dangerous tanks. So the fact that you can do it, that two people can lift out a body, or not necessarily a body, but lift the weight of one person, they can do it deadweight, they can do it over that nice ladder, I think that's clearly a need that is a winner for me. The Emergency Alarm System also has a need. There are other ways of solving the same problem. But in terms of being able to do it effectively and inexpensively, which may make it a threshold issue maybe at a clinic or some other office where there's not a lot of money to go around, I think you can see the Emergency Alarm System meeting a need there. It's checking-effective. Well, I'm biased. (ALL LAUGH) Yeah. You want the thing that will save more doctors

cos they're the most important people. But then having said that, to be able to get somebody out of a situation where you have an opportunity to resuscitate from the time frame, that's very powerful when you look at the need assessment. But then if you step back and say the pole straightening. How many of those guys have ended up in doctors' surgery cranky with a crooked back?! (LAUGHS) That just brings us back to the Emergency Alarm. (LAUGHS) I think the pole-straightener, I love it for design. Cos literally, taking something that exists and really just whacking a bent pipe on the side to turn it 90 degrees is genius. I think they've designed it really nicely. Elegant simplicity. Beautiful. I think we have really strong design in all three inventions tonight. Because even if you take a look at the Smartarm, it's very simple, that's part of the strength of its design. There have always been these flanges on the tanks and yet, we've never thought - It's waiting for it to be used. It's interesting in the marketing, the Stem Aligner, probably worldwide, just because of the number of stems there are out there, may be the biggest of the products. Although I'd think also for the surgeries, and counsellors who work with people who can regularly be agitated, if this is a really cheap thing, you can at least trial and see it if works in a multi-practice place, or multi-room practice. I think that's got a decent market too. But then, you look at all the tanks around the world, whether it'd be milk, or oil or anything. This is hopeless, we'll never come to a decision. That's hard. A decision is what you must come to. What do you think? My decision, for need and also for its design elements is the Smartarm. OK. Either of you disagree? I think the Smartarm is a really well designed,

well executed and it's going to probably save a few lives. I think it wins. Yes, it would be the top end. Because it's gonna give time for resuscitation. Yeah. There you go, the winner tonight unanimous - Smartarm, Frank Zeigler. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

Good on you, Frank. Congratulations. Thank you. Well done. Thank you, James. Frank is in the running to be named our Inventor of the Year. What did you think? Vote for your favourite and they might win the People's Choice Award. Text 1 for Smartarm, 2 for Emergency Alarm System, 3 for Stem Aligner. Thanks to our judges. Well done, guys. Well done. And a big round of applause to the stars of the show - the inventors! Thank you very much. And the quote tonight from Oprah Winfrey who said, "Real integrity is doing the right thing knowing that no-one's going to know whether you did it or not." Good night. APPLAUSE JAMES: 'We know that last week the panel picked Dr Paul Brockwell and Dr Robert Holland and their Intelligent Plastic. But what did you pick as the People's Choice? There was the Gripper Snipper, the Intelligent Plastic and the Kadattack. And you picked the Intelligent Plastic.'

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