Quarterly awards scheme, Cool Ideas, has its prize fund increased to £100,000 and expanded the chance for even more innovators to win.
Organiser of Cool Ideas, Protolabs, says the Cool Idea Award scheme will now offer £100,000 of prototyping and manufacturing services every year to applicants across Europe looking to get great ideas off the ground. And for the first time, the Telford-based digital manufacturer will also offer support to ideas that did not win the top prize but were highly commended by the judges.
Protolabs design expert Ray Faulkner said the expanded scheme would give even more companies the chance to get their pioneering ideas developed and into production, saying: “We launched the Cool Idea Award in Europe earlier this year after it proved a phenomenal success in the United States.” Initially, £50,000 was made available across the year to four winners, announced on a quarterly basis for the European scheme. But with £100,000 even more brilliant ideas will benefit, Faulkner noted and added that the awards aim to help as many entrepreneurs, inventors and companies as possible turn those inspiring concepts into real-life products.
Protolabs uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding technologies to produce parts within days.
The latest winner of the U.S. scheme – smart home company Rezzi – made headlines around the world when its revolutionary Smart Can scooped the prize in September. The invention is the world’s first motorised dustbin which can take itself to the side of the street for collection and then return home once emptied.
Rezzi plans to make Smart Can available by late 2020, and with the help of Protolabs and the Cool Idea award, the company has been able to rapidly accelerate its current phase of product prototyping and testing, bumping up its production schedule by nearly six months.
Smart Can’s entire mechanical structure was manufactured by Protolabs, including the main body fabricated from sheet metal, the drive train assembly and the 3D printed plastic cover.