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Startacus - Unusual Inventions - the Windup Radio

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by Startacus Admin

Unusual only perhaps because when I studied at University, I used to frequent the same Sunday morning cafe that that the inventor Trevor Baylis ate at. Not that I ever spoke to the chap, but we would occasionally be eating our post hang-over fry, when Mr Windup Radio inventor also took a well earned break.

Little did I know at the time, that I would be one day sat here writing about inventors who have made an unusual difference to the world - Trevor Baylis included. But unusual for this reason is not giving Trevor Trevor BaylisBaylis credit....

Back in 1991, Trevor had been watching a programme on TV about the spread of AIDS in Africa. The programme summarised that radio was a great means of communicating key messages on AIDS, but that for most of the African population, electricity or batteries, were too expensive to access. The programme suggested that a new means of communication was required to tell the African population about AIDS.

However Trevor realised that it was not the radio that was the problem, but the source of electricity to power the radio. 3 years later, and after many hours spent in his workshop, his Windup Radio prototype featured on the TV programme ‘Tomorrow's World’.

The design, in hindsight is obvious. A brace, turning a motor, would generate electrical power - enough power to charge a radio. The person's hand would turn the brace. (okay its not technically as simple as that, but you hopefully get it!)

By 1997 an advanced model was in production and the windup Radio, became a mainstream communication tool for the African population, helping to spread the word on AIDS.

So a simple solution to a massive problem. What solution do you potentially have to a problem that could change the world? Maybe like Trevor Baylis, you have the potential to come up with the next big thing...

If you like this invention - perhaps you will like to read our tale on the invention of the Twitter Hashtag.

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Published on: 3rd September 2012

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