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British inventiveness - still alive and kicking

27 June 2014

Business secretary, Vince Cable, came face-to-face with bionic limbs, an airship and a model of a hypersonic aircraft when he launched a new report – Pioneering Great British Products – at Liverpool’s Life Sciences University Technical College.


The report, by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and Siemens, kicked-off Manufacturing, Science and Technology Week at the International Festival for Business and sets out to demonstrate that British inventiveness is very much alive and kicking. It looks at Britain’s heritage in bringing life-changing inventions to the world and reveals cutting-edge British inventions that show every potential of being counted as future ‘greats’. 


The Business Secretary met students and staff from the UTC along with many of the inventors and products featured in the report. These included:  

•  A model of AIRLANDER by Hybrid Air Vehicles – the world’s largest aircraft and most sophisticated airship

•  A demonstration of Raspberry Pi by Raspberry Pi Foundation - a tiny computer no bigger than a credit card

•  A model of SKYLON, a multi-use, pilotless aircraft, capable of hypersonic speed and flying into space. This is possible because of the SABRE Engine created by Reaction Engines

•  A model remotely operated vehicle and a remotely controlled robotic arm – these are from Soil Machine Dynamics who make Seafloor Production Tools that are capable of mining underwater for precious metals at depths of 1600 to 2500m.

He also saw the i-limb by Touch Bionics - the world’s most advanced bionic limb, so dexterous that the wearer can peel a banana and turn a key in a lock. Gary McKeown, an i-limb user, showed Dr Cable what his bionic limb is capable of and talked about how the technology could change lives.


Dr Cable said: "We have a proud history as inventors and these ground-breaking ideas demonstrate that British inventiveness has a bright future. The ability to innovate is one of the reasons why manufacturing continues the renaissance we’re currently seeing. Through our industrial strategy, the Government is giving businesses and manufacturers the confidence to invest – securing high skilled jobs and a stronger economy.”


Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: "We hope that these magnificent inventions will open eyes to the creativity and resourcefulness going on within these shores today. Inventiveness is written in our DNA, but it must be properly supported by ensuring a strong and steady flow of young people with the right skills to carry it on.”