A Fiat-sponsored competition to find Britain’s most promising inventor has come to a close with a shortlist of five chosen to go through to the finals on 25 September.
The finalists of the Smiles per Hour competition are: Simon Tarrant from Guildford; Nick Rawcliffe from Bermondsey, London; Natalie Daghestani from Barry, Wales; Steven Spong from Putney Heath, London; and Harley Zblewski from Banbury, Oxon.
The challenge is now on as they dive headlong into proving their innovations have got what it takes to impress the judges, who include Suzi Perry of television’s The Gadget Show, and scoop the £50,000 prize money offered by Fiat.
The car manufacturer’s Smiles Per Hour Design Competition, launched earlier in the summer to find the most amusing way to journey from A to B, attracted a huge reaction from the British public. Amateur inventors were invited to design a transporter of any description which would make travelling more fun, with entrants invited to upload their concepts on to a specially created Fiat website.
Elena Bernardelli, marketing director at Fiat UK, said: ‘The results have been imaginative, innovative and interesting, We have been greatly impressed by the standard of entries and we know it’s going to be a tough call for the judges on finals’ night.’
The finalists were first mentored by a team of personalities from the world of innovation and design, among them our own special projects editor, Stuart Nathan; inventor Tom Lawton; Andrew Humberstone, managing director at Fiat UK, and Perry.
The mentoring, which took place on 2 September at Fiat’s Flagship Store London on Wigmore Street, allowed the finalists to fine-tune their creations before they were demonstrated to the general public in a street show fronted by Perry that afternoon and the following day.
The prototypes are now on display at the Fiat Flagship London Store, allowing members of the public to see them and watch them in action on a wide screen, and then vote for their favourite.
The public vote will count towards the overall score awarded to each of the innovations on finals’ night when, as well as Perry, the judges will include Lorenzo Ramaciotti, head of Fiat Group Design, and Tim Malloy, creative director of The Science Museum.
The five Smiles Per Hour finalists show off their inventions outside the Fiat Flagship London Store. Looking on are their mentors: left to right – Stuart Nathan of The Engineer; Garry Munns, Creative Director Arc Worldwide; Suzi Perry; Andrew Humberstone, Managing Director Fiat UK and the inventor, Tom Lawton