EDITOR'S COMMENT: Student bodies

This week, Robert Hutchins reminisces on his days at university, following a visit to New Designers. Oh, and we have the grand unveiling of something called Troakial Pursuit.
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The vast majority of my university years were spent either incoherently drunk, incomprehensibly hungover or incompetently trying my luck with members of the opposite sex.

When it came to studying, by the end of my four-year stay in Manchester, I had learned every word to The Smiths, the price of the entire Sainsbury’s Basics range and the name of every staff member at Chicken King.

Actual work couldn’t have been further from my mind.

Never would I have found myself in a hall of fellow students, presenting the mind boggling end product of my Design and Technology project to a room swarming with scouts from some of the UK’s biggest companies.

I could barely find my way home, for a start. And I studied Film, for seconds.

So it was both encouraging and a little intimidating while visiting this year’s London’s New Designers Fair last week, to see the capital’s Business Design Centre teeming with some of the savviest young innovators I have ever encountered.

We did have reason to be there of course, and that was to have a scout ourselves for anything we thought could be the next greatest thing in the toy industry, and worth a shout out on the Inventors Bulletin.

And we weren’t disappointed. There were far too many highlights to list in one go, so you will have to stay tuned to the weekly Bulletin to find out more about these yet undiscovered gems.

One product that did stand out, however was from a young design student named Hannah Sage who has invented a toy aimed at children with parents in the armed forces.

The concept, called Milo, was essentially a Lion themed toy featuring hide-and-seek elements. The toy challenges kids to find these elements hidden around the house by their parents. Once they are found and returned to Milo, the lion device will play a recorded message from their absent mother or father.

So charming was the toy, that Sage told us she had already piqued the interest of scouts from various toy companies visiting the show.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, ToyNews’ new staff writer Rhys Troake is certainly making all the right first impressions, and none better than with the grand unveiling of his own board game creation: Troakial Pursuit.

Even at first glance, it’s apparent that this is a game that could give even Cards Against Humanity a run for its money in the risqué stakes, featuring Troake or Dare elements, a number of ‘Down Your Drink’ squares and a challenge involving placing a condom on your head while playing the recorder.

Unsurprisingly, the game is the result of Rhys’ three years at university, too, yet he assures us that out of the many players foolish enough to start the game, no-one has yet completed it.

He doesn’t know it yet, but Rhys will be demonstrating his game at this year’s Inventors Workshop, and any one after the full list of rules (there are a lot) or willing to give it a go, should drop him a line at rtroake@nbmedia.com.

With the Inventors Workshop in mind, it is a hearty congratulations to Jayne Bromfield and her win in the Inventors Workshop Survey prize draw. Jayne has won herself a free ticket to this year’s Workshop at Whittlebury Hall and we look forward to seeing her there, along with all those who have already booked their tickets, and those who are yet to do so.

Remember stay tuned for all the latest toy inventor community news. As always, feel free to drop us a line to tell us about your own inventions at rhutchins@nbmedia.com or blangsworthy@nbmedia.com.

For now, I’ll bid you adieu, as I have just rolled a six in Troakial Pursuit, and Christ only knows what that could mean.

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Robert Hutchins watches ToyNews' Billy Langsworthy grab a spot on TOWIE while Accentuate creators Graeme and Fiona Fraser-Bell enter the Dragons' Den.

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