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New Inventors -

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(generated from captions) THEME MUSIC APPLAUSE Welcome to the New Inventors. Hello, I'm James O'Loghlin. that could save your sight Tonight we'll see an invention by looking deep into your eyes, let you heat your house another that will any of the air in it, without having to warm up and even tastes like a brick wall, and something that looks, feels but isn't a brick wall. to welcome engineer, James Moody, On our panel tonight, it's a pleasure or should I say, Chris - Kininmonth, journalist and inventor Christine - and interior designer, Alison Page. Welcome, all. APPLAUSE that if you lose your sight, Now, you may think that's something that just happens do anything about it. and you can't really Not so. Some blindness is curable is actually preventable and a lot of blindness if you pick it up early enough. some fairly sophisticated machinery But to do that, you need to screen people, to people at risk in remote areas. and you need to get it This could help. in developing countries is a problem Screening for retinal eye disease cameras operated by trained staff, because screening involves expensive in adverse environments. and these cameras don't survive well My retinal camera can change this.

fully portable and easy to use. My retinal camera is and outside area of a person's eye The camera display shows the inside on the same screen, to align and focus the camera. making it easy 5 or 10 minutes of training, So, after only even a layperson can operate it. and environmentally sealed, Being portable typically encountered it is suitable for conditions of the world. in remote or developing areas to do something to help I just wanted in the fight against eye disease, millions of people worldwide. which affects Greg Koennecke and Wendy Stuthers. Please welcome from Hobart, Hi, Greg. APPLAUSE Thank you very much for coming in. Hi, Wendy. we're gonna look deeper into them. You have lovely eyes, but I think Greg, how do we screen Wendy

eye illnesses? for three fairly substantial Basically what we do is, put their head in the chinrest there we have the patient

and we bring the instrument in, on the outside of the eye. looking at the view We'll press the button. Just adjust the instrument. of the patient's eyes. We've then got an image OK, someone can learn to operate this eye person, can't they? who's not a qualified That's right. the major design objectives, Yeah, that's one of so that it was easy to use was to make it

paramedics and the likes for village nurses, and remote areas. in the developing world a couple hundred of those every day? And they could take Correct, yeah.

just fire a modem, And then with the computer, on the other side of the world. send them to an eye specialist That's right, yep. go through them all in how long? Who could look at them that night, to do a day's screening, Something like an hour and they can do it in Perth or wherever. from the comfort of their office And then next morning in Eritrea or wherever, they could say back to the nurse "These 14 need further treatment." That's exactly the idea, yep.

had to come in to the main centre Rather than the old way, everyone where a non-portable unit was set up. That's right. and, Wendy, thank you very much. Greg, come across for the use of her eyes. Please thank Wendy APPLAUSE Now, James Moody, you've got eyes. What do you think? (Laughs) Yes, I do. Hi, Greg. disease in developing countries Eye problems are such a preventable on people's livelihoods, and can have a huge impact of different climates, as you said. but you'll be taking this into a lot but does it need much maintenance? It's quite robust, No, quite the contrary. It's completely sealed and robust. And when it's mounted in its housing be dropped off this table, it can basically which is one of the design criteria. no more maintenance And so it should require than a conventional digital camera, delicate thing inside there. which is probably the most is that right? It's gonna weigh less than 7kg, there'll be a variant that's 7kg Yes, just on 7kg - an aircraft as hand luggage. so it can be carried on board so you don't need a power source? And it runs off batteries, Can be run off 12 volts, yeah, a car battery, basically. so can be run off Yes, it is a wonderful invention. Christine? And the portability seems to be of the invention. one of the major features from what's already out there What else about it is different in terms of design features? is the second big feature that, Ease of use because this will land in a village in the middle of nowhere somewhere out be familiar with retinal cameras. and people using it may not of the outside of the eye I've got a separate view of the inside of the eye that's overlaid over the view where they're aiming the camera, so they can see with existing instruments. which is one of the major problems Eye Research Australia have found So, existing instruments, competently to take images. it takes 2-3 hours to train somebody all we require for this instrument. We think maybe 5, 10 minutes is and the third thing is the cost. So that's a big difference, for well under two-thirds the price We should be able to sell it and cost is a real barrier. of existing instruments, to sell this for? So, how much are you hoping well under $20,000 is the aim. For retinopathy screening, Sounds like a lot of money,

start at about $32,000 but existing instruments and not easy to use. and they're not portable cameras and went like that, If you got one of your throwaway that wouldn't do it, would it? No, no. Good question, though, this whole project started. because that was where as something as simple as that. We wanted to do it get light into the eye But you have to actually and you have to be able to position the instrument within about 0.5mm in three axes. And to do that you need the alignment systems, the sort of systems we've developed to make this thing easy to use. Alison? I like how you've sealed the unit internally so you're not just relying on the case for protection. Can I present a scenario? What if you dropped it?

If the instrument as it was was dropped on its head, we'd be a certain amount of trouble. So, normally when you're environmentally proofing something, you've got to make it so you can chuck it over your shoulder. That's right, yeah. This thing's designed so that if it's put down heavily on its base, it's basically internally shock-mounted. And once it's in its housing, we could drop the housing upside down onto the footpath and it's going to survive. Have you got a big market also within Australia or within the developed countries? People keep telling me there's a much bigger market there than there is in the developing world, but we're not really focusing on that because the job is to develop it, and the aspiration's to develop this for screening. And the hope is that it will automatically sell to a significant proportion of optometrists and that and similar operators in the Western world just because of the low cost. The ease of use means the receptionist can use it. And portability will be important to some, because it means they can take it from surgery to surgery and into shopping centres for screenings. So, obviously we want to save sight in the Western world as much as we do It's a bigger problem in the developing world. Summing up, James. Look, Greg, I think you've got a really nice balance here between functionality, portability and durability. Christine? I think there are lots more questions to ask and a lot more to be learned about this, because I can see that it's a very complex system that you've got in place there. But it looks simple and it's simple to use and that's the main thing. Alison? Look, Greg, it is very well designed,

and I love the fact that you were sitting in a conference listening to someone talk about how we really need a portable retinal camera and you went out and designed it. I wish there were more people like you. Yes, fantastic. Please thank Greg Koennecke. APPLAUSE Now get ready to be amazed - this is tops.

A flying car. ANNOUNCER: Here's a rather special French car.

It may look something of a bomb, but it was designed as a practical approach to beating the traffic problems. Many a harassed motorist has thought how splendid it would be to escape from a traffic jam simply by taking to the air. Robert Lebouder made the dream come true. He devised and built a car in which he could, with very little effort, leave the ground. The car body slides into the rear section of the fuselage, and the two halves are then bolted together.

The next job is to fit the supporting struts between the car body and the wings. It's a case of now you drive it, now you don't. He learnt both skills during the 4,000 working hours it took him to build the Autoplane. 40 minutes after arriving at the airfield, Monsieur Lebouder is ready for takeoff. Now the Autoplane is a reality, everyone in the Lebouder family agrees the effort has been worthwhile. No longer the frustrating traffic jams or long, tiring journeys when they go on holidays. How cool was that?! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, look out. And by the way, if you're an inventor, this is the show for you. Not if you're a dancer - try 'Strictly Dancing'. But if you've invented something and it works, why not get in touch. To get an application form for the New Inventors, just go to our website - Now, you've heard that saying directed at people floating in the middle of the ocean, "Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink." Well, houses are similar. How, you ask? Well, every cold house is surrounded by all this warm air, but we just don't know how to get at it. Where's the warm air? In the roof. And this is how you get at it. Why put up with huge heating and airconditioning costs when there's a better alternative... ..right under you roof? Solectair is a hands-free automated system

which harnesses solar energy to heat your house. On sunny days, even when it's cold, the sun heats up the air trapped under your roof. When the roof becomes warmer than your house, a fan automatically filters the free solar heat through the ducts, out of the vents and into your house. The house absorbs this continual transfer of free solar-heated warmth throughout the day

and re-radiates it for hours afterwards. Solectair complements existing heating systems, but you will only need to use it for 30%-50% of the time. Please welcome from Perth, Kim Dartnall. APPLAUSE G'day, Kim. G'day, James. Can we just do some renovations... Yeah, sure. ..on your house and take - if only it were this easy - and take the roof off? And basically, what you've got is hot air in there. Because hot air rises. Yep. And tell us what happens to it. Yes, the fan up here is adapted and connected through to the existing airconditioning ducting in this example,

and the computerised controller over here detects when the temperature in the roof underneath the roof cladding is warmer than what it is inside the house. So, when it's hotter up here than it is down there - which will be a lot - basically, this turns on and pumps the hot air down? Absolutely, yes. And then, eventually the hot air will go back up again, because hot air rises, and it'll happen again and again. Yes, a certain amount of pressure coming from the fan as well, which forces the air back up into the roof space, so it's rotating and progressively jacking in temperature and getting warmer. And you mentioned that this model is with an existing airconditioner. For people who don't have airconditioners, it can still work too, can't it? Yes, you would install a system just with its own ducting. The Solectair system would have its own ducting and the fan and the controller. And your idea is if a house had a couple of bar heaters or something, it would supplement rather than replace? Yes, yes. There are certain days, if the sun isn't shining, that the system wouldn't be on. Kim, come across and have a seat. Christine? I know you've got a roof. I do, I've got a roof. And I absolutely love this. Oh, thank you. Kim, I think it's terrific. What do you get for the money? What are you paying and what do you actually get in the system that you're buying? In this example, that's an evaporative airconditioner which already has its own ducting, and the vents and so forth is existing, so you don't have to need that. You don't need a solar collector, because you've already got one. So, what would it cost you? Probably about $1,200.

So, the $1,200 would be installation of fans, the temperature control? Yes, the fan...

And that's the key to the whole thing, isn't it - the temperature control? The control device is the main basis of what our patent is around. And what does it cost to run? It costs around about 9 cents an hour. It would run about 5 or 6 hours during the day. The analysis we've done means that we would save or reduce your heating costs between 30%-50%. So, does it work with a double-storey house? And if it does, do you run out of air quickly? Do you run out of the warm air quicker? Well, the controller will automatically compensate for that because once the air in the roof

is then cooler than the air in the house, it will switch off and would recharge again like a rechargeable battery. Alison, you're an interior designer. This is about interiors. Yeah, well, I'd like to sort of ask you about what... Are there any sort of special house design requirements, and if you could run through those. The roof colour is reasonably important. We have had it working quite well in white-roofed metal, like a Colourbond style of roof. It works quite well in that regard. But the darker roof... The darker... The medium colours to darker-colour roofs work better for this. The darker the colour, the better performance. And obviously, brick house would be better? Yes, there's more thermal mass. We tend to rely, to a certain degree, on thermal mass. The idea is to get the heat getting into the house, get it absorbed into the thermal mass. Would you keep or remove the insulation in your roof? Is it better with or without? No, you must have insulation on the ceiling, otherwise you're gonna waste the energy that you've gained. You're really harvesting that free heat that's sitting in the roof. Get it into the house, we want to trap it and retain it in the house. So, we want insulation on the ceiling so, as good insulation as you've got, but we'd prefer not to have insulation under the roof cladding, because if there's insulation there...

It'll keep the heat out. stops the heat coming into the roof. What about all the dust and stuff that's up in people's roofs? Yeah, well, that's... We've addressed that. The fan is mounted very high up in the roof and the air velocity isn't such that it doesn't stir any dust up. And you've got a filter. There's a filter there too.

And that's filtering to Australian standards. Summing up, Christine. There's a need out there for energy efficiency, so anything that's going to address that need is going to be wonderful. Alison? Oh, I think, yeah, you're using a renewable energy source, which is always fantastic. I think what would be really great is, because there are a few variables to negotiate - where you live in Australia, what house design you've got - it'd be great if you could just jump on a website and punch in your details and then print out an expected performance rating or something. That's right. And, Jim? Yeah, I think, you've just found a really clever way to tap into some unused energy in the house. And I could probably see a day when you might even be designing the house around your invention. There's about 2 million houses that are suitable for our system around Australia. Yeah, I knew that. Please thank Kim Dartnall. Thanks very much, Kim. Most houses have outdoor walls or fences. Some are made of rendered brick and they're strong, pretty soundproof and many think they look good, but they're expensive. Others, made of wood, are cheap. Yay! But they're not as strong, not as good at keeping out sound and, many think, not as pretty. So, what to do?

What about an outdoor wall that acts like brick, but isn't brick? To build a fence that's durable, soundproof, easy to assemble and looks good can be an expensive task.

So I've invented a fencing system that gives you the look of a rendered brick wall for about one-third of the price. My system is made of a flat, compressed polystyrene core that lays between fibre cement panels. These then slot into specially designed posts made of steel that are then cemented into the ground. The panels can stack on top of one another for height or in various sizes to get the effect of a low wall. Kwik-wall is easy to render or paint so you can get the effect you want. And the system also provides excellent noise insulation from a main road - just what you need for modern-day living. Please welcome, from Sydney, Nick Holden. APPLAUSE G'day, Nick. How you doing? Thank you for coming in. Thank you, no worries. Now, this is one of your walls, and if we can just have a bit of a look at the cross-section of it, what's it made of? It's a composite panel - it's a fibre cement outer skin, the polystyrene core and another layer of fibre cement. They're all bonded together to form a structural panel. And you reckon it's sort of as tough as brick, or nearly as tough? It's incredibly strong - when they bond it together so it forms a structural panel, you won't get any deflection or anything of that nature. Alright, can you build a wall for us? Yep. So, essentially what you'd do, you'd set your post system in the ground first. After they're set, you'd come along with your panels. Each panel... So, they're not heavy, obviously? No, each panel weighs approximately 20kg, for a large one. Basically slot it in there. It slides down the post system. Now, that looks suspiciously like it's quicker than bricklaying to me. If you were building a wall that's this high and 10m long, out of this and out of brick, what's the time comparison? A brick wall would probably take you about 3-4 days due to the fact of the strip footings and so forth. This one, after you've set your post system in the ground, which will take you a few hours, you let that set and then you come back and slide your panels in. Essentially, for 10m, you could be in and out within probably about 5-6 hours. And the cost comparison between the brick and this? Brick wall, a comparable size at 1.8m runs out to about $600-$700 a lineal metre. A lineal metre just means a metre long? Correct, yeah, where this one's approximately about $200. So, about a third? It's about a third, yeah. OK, come across and sit down. Cheers. Alison Page, what do you think? Yeah, Nick, I think this is fantastic and I think that the do-it-yourself aspect of it

is what's gonna make it really popular. But I'd like to sort of ask you, are you looking at any kind of design variations, as in sort of varying thicknesses of the wall or making it prefinished? Yeah, I do at the moment, actually. That's...we do sort of basically a small, medium or large version, this one being the medium, which is built around brick dimensions. We also do a version, a more economical one that's thinner panel, thinner post, and then a larger one which is basically a brick and a half size. Are there any issues with flammability at all? There's not. All edges of the panels are encapsulated on all four corners. The polystyrene itself is fire-retardant, so it will never sustain a fire. James? Yeah, Nick, I'm interested in the strength of the wall. Have you had it tested for high-wind areas, or are there any building standards that it has to meet? Do you want to go and give it a punch? It qualifies for all terrain and wind loading categories throughout Australia. And it's flexible enough so that if you had foundations moving, the wall could cope - it wouldn't split or crack? It is. That's a big advantage over brick, to be honest. You'll never get a crack in the wall due to the fact the panels are always floating in the post system.

Actually, that was something I was gonna mention,

because you often see with these wooden paling walls that, you know, after about 5-10 years,

they start to sag and they're moving and falling over. In 10 years, what's that gonna look like? Essentially, I mean, they're on a very large footing, so without any major ground movement they should look the same. It's got a design life of 25 years on the wall system. The other thing I was interested in was your name, Kwik-wall. I wonder where...? That's not his name. No. LAUGHTER

I just wonder whether that does you justice, because Kwik-wall is going to suit people

who love the idea of buying it, but once it's installed and you're trying to get something that you're gonna sell... "It's installed with a Kwik-wall." Is it gonna do it justice? I think maybe you should look at something that's a bit more designer-y, like, 'Contempo-something' or, you know. OK. Trendo-wall. Trendo-wall.

Something that's gonna add value to it, to make it look as if the person has bought it because it looks so fantastic - they've made an aesthetic decision.

If you're telling us that this is as strong as brick, and nearly as durable as brick, would you say? I would. I would agree with that. Is there any reason why you can't use it to build a whole house out of? You could probably use the panel in that application, you know. It's something that we're looking at at the moment. Do you want a house made out of polystyrene, though, from an environmental point of view? All that polystyrene? It's a tricky one. Yeah, I dunno. It could be used for second storeys, though, because they don't... they aren't as heavy. Yeah, I think polystyrene is a very common building material nowadays. I mean, the majority of the polystyrene in that is recycled. It's not affected by white ants or anything like that. Er, look, I hope... No, summing up. I was going to say, I hope your invention isn't infected by the human version of white ants. Summing up, Alison?

Look, Nick, it's the aesthetics of this that are going to sell it, and the unconsidered aesthetics of a lot of metal fences are such a problem now in a lot of suburban areas that councils are starting to write about them in their design guidelines. So, I think you've just come right in there at the right time. James? I think you've got a real alternative for the home-builder. Christine? When it's rendered with the cappings on, it actually looks very smart. Please thank Nick Holden. Well done, Nick. In a moment, we'll find out which invention our judges will pick as tonight's winner. But first, have a look at this. Tonight's winner will be in the running to be named our Inventor of the Year. Will it be the "look into my eyes" Portable Retinal Camera, the "heat your house from your roof" Solectair, or the "looks like a brick wall, but isn't", Kwik-wall? James Moody, looking first to need. Which one of these, do you think, is there the greatest need for? James, I think the Portable Retinal Camera definitely hits the "need" button for me. If it's embraced especially by the medical profession, it can be rolled out all across the world. There's a real need for this. But there also are alternatives for Solectair and Kwik-wall whereas, really, there is no alternative with the Portable... In those areas. And you can go to some parts of Australia - you know, particularly Aboriginal communities - where there's such high rates of diabetes and think that you're in a developing country. So I think, you know, his market is actually a lot wider and he'll probably realise that as he develops it. That being said, I think from the manufacture and pricing perspective

the Kwik-wall, for me, wins hands down on that. I think it's a really smart use of materials. I didn't think I would like the idea of a polystyrene-based wall, but I have to say, you see it and you're just won over by it. You're seduced by the aesthetics, aren't you? It does, it looks convincingly good and it's better than what's out there. And you're right - I think the market is gonna snap it up. The idea of retrofitting the Solectair... I mean, 2 million houses or whatever that already exist that actually are compatible - I think the market there is massive. I think the value in the Solectair, actually, is not just in saving money, but it's actually that if your house starts getting a 4-star rating or a 5-star rating, it actually increases the value of the house.

What about originality? Which is the most original, do you think? There's a real original component of the Retinal Camera, which is the fact that a receptionist can use it. That intuitive interface, that intuitive interface

where anyone can go up to it, someone like me can go up to it. I love the fact that you say "a receptionist can use it" and you say "intuitive interface". That's what's important. (Laughs) That's right. No, but that aspect of it is so critical. OK, so, summing them all up, bundling them into a lovely little ball and coming out with a winner.

Alison? I'm gonna choose the Portable Retinal Camera, definitely. Christine? I suppose I just can't go past the Retinal Camera because it's going to help so many people, so I'm also gonna put a vote in for the Portable Retinal Camera. Is it unanimous, James? It is unanimous, James. I like the design. I think it's innovative. And there's a huge market, with the potential to change thousands,

if not millions of lives. Then the winner is Greg Koennecke and his Portable Retinal Camera. APPLAUSE

Congratulations, mate. Thanks for that. Greg's in the running to be named our Inventor of the Year. What did you think? What invention would you have voted for? If you'd like to have your say, you can vote for the New Inventors People's Choice award. Pick your favourite from tonight and text '1' for the Portable Retinal Camera, '2' for the Solectair, or '3' for the Kwikwall to: Thanks to out judges - well done. APPLAUSE And thanks to the real stars of the show, the inventors. APPLAUSE Before we go tonight, with all these amazing inventions around, I sometimes wonder if soon machines will be able to do everything we can do and will take over the world. But then I remember the words of writer, Elbert Hubbard, who said, "One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men. "No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man." So, next time you see your computer sitting on your desk looking all smug and satisfied, tell it that. Goodnight. APPLAUSE We know that last week, the panel picked Christopher Lyons from Victoria and his Hotsuit. Let's see what you picked as the People's Choice. There was the Hotsuit, the Fire Egress Rail and the Barrier Mate.