I’m so excited to launch this one-off innovation & problem solving challenge for families in Hong Kong!
Working with household items we’re going to attempt to build strong, stable structures that, if done right, can support the weight of a human or even a whole family!
I’m Ben Edmonds, a Principal Engineer at Dyson and Inventor named on multiple global patents. I’ve spent the last 2 decades working in product design and innovation and the one major thing i’ve learned to do is to spot the potential in objects and opportunities to get the very best out of them.
What’s the Challenge?
To design and build a ‘bridge’ structure from the list of components below during a 90 minute session. There will be 15 minutes at the beginning to learn some key construction techniques and 15 minutes at the end for some testing time because we’re going to test your bridge to destruction…or success depending how things pan out!
Your ‘Bridge’ can look like anything you want, there is no set plan to follow. The bridge above is the one that kicked off the Inventor Club in the first place. This project is more about discovery than following set instructions so get as creative as you like. A lot of engineering is just about common sense and logical thinking. The session will begin by looking at various structures that could inspire your young inventors but feel free to get them exploring deas before hand.
What tools & materials will we need?
I’m all about being resourceful. I love teaching people that just because you don’t have the exact material to hand, there are alternatives you can use to still complete the task. We can ALWAYS find a way to move forwards. You might not have all the materials listed below, bare minimum you need card and tape. I once made a bridge with a bunch of 8 year olds that 16 adults were able to walk over one by one!
- Cardboard – ideally corrugated card but cereal packets, wine carriers etc can work too. I’ve also completed this with newspaper!
- Parcel tape/sticky tape
- A craft knife or scissors
Nice to have
- Rubber Bands
- Lollipop sticks
- Wooden dowels or sticks
- Cutting mat
- A ruler to help cutting straight lines
- A glue gun
What age range is suitable?
It’s entirely up to you, you know your child best. I usually work with ages 7 upwards but have had plenty of very capable younger children and with adult supervision, anything is possible. Big kids welcome too, I work with kids aged 7-70, you’re only as old as you tell yourself and plenty of teens and adults love this kind of thing too.
When is the challenge?
7th April at 6:00pm Hong Kong Time (I’ll be up bright and early in the UK ) You’re welcome to dial in from anywhere in the world but make sure you get the time difference right!
How much will it cost?
This first session is a one off teaser to see if there is future interest in running something more regular. For this first ever session it’s just a £5 donation to DEC for all the great work they’re doing around the world. I will be donating 100% of the proceeds the day after the event.
What is the format of the session?
I will give everyone some basic skills and knowledge to get you going via some sheets during the first 15 mins of the session. You’ll then have a hour to build your creation and for those that have finished, we’ll spend the last 15 minutes doing some testing. We’ll start off with small amounts and work up until either your bridge is destroyed or survives! In the real world testing our ideas is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter if your structure fails, it’s more important that we understand why because next time you’ll do an even better job.
Here are the sheets we’ll use, feel free to download them or have them to hand on a different device during the session.
How do we get access?
The sessions will be run over ZOOM. You will be sent the login details when you have signed up and paid the £5 donation. This can be accessed on any tablet, PC, smart device or laptop with internet access.
What’s the long term aim?
This is a taster session for my Online Inventor Club. I’m looking for young Inventors who would love to work with a real life inventor to help inspire their journey to become real life problem solvers, innovators and engineers! I currently run weekly online sessions in the UK. Thanks to some friends of friends, we’re now looking to potentially set up a regular online session in HK too 🙂 For now, this is one-off fun filled family challenge to get your creative minds thinking during the lockdowns.
Here’s a look at the kind of thing that we usually get up to in Inventor Club