Guests at the QEPrize nominations launch with Litelok®, a new lightweight secure bike lock

Last week at a launch event to celebrate the opening of nominations for the 2017 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the QEPrize team showcased the latest in Innovation Design Engineering.  Innovating new technologies, human-centred designs, sustainable innovation and social enterprise, Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) is an MA and MSc programme, run jointly by the Royal College of Art and Imperial College’s Dyson School of Design Engineering.

IDE changes the lives of its students and influences those of thousands of others. It is a programme that takes applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and through a mix of project and teaching experiences leads participants to a Master’s degree level of understanding and skill in design engineering development and innovation.

On their journey, the students take advantage of the skills and cultures of two very different organisations: Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. The result is the rigour and precision of science, technology and engineering, in combination with the inspirational and creative aspects of design and enterprise.

The IDE alumni projects exhibited at the QEPrize launch event represented an important window into the near-future of our society through the products, systems and services we will be interacting with in the next decade.

The Polyfloss Factory

– Created by Emile De Visscher, Christophe Machet, Nick Paget and Audrey Gaulard

The Polyfloss Factory specialises in developing innovative solutions for upcycling waste at a local scale. The bespoke machine produces Polyfloss, a floss-like (fibre) plastic material, made by applying heat to and spinning thermoplastics (specifically waste plastic), in a process similar to candyfloss production. The properties of the resulting material can be controlled by varying the heat and speed of spinning, producing materials with multiple and varying uses.

Polyfloss shows great potential to create value from waste material, transforming plastic waste into useful new products such as building insulation. In addition, Polyfloss can also be used in packaging, and knitted, felted and woven fibres to make textiles.

Tio Toys

 Designed and developed by Peter Spence, Ashley Wiltshire, Mario Morello

Tio is a fun and creative robotic building block, allowing children to make their own moving tech toys.  Children can program their creations with the free iOS and Android app to race around obstacles, flap wings, follow a path, choose their favourite LED colours or drive and rotate at different speeds. They can even learn to code by programming the blocks with Microsoft Touch Develop.

The Tio kit includes robotic building blocks with built-in LEDs and rechargeable batteries, magnetic mounts, colourful wheels, interchangeable accessories, sticky tabs, pop and fold invention templates and a personalised storybook. As a Tio creator, you get access to Tio’s safe online community to find inspiration, download templates and join challenges.

Designed to spark invention, encourage creative play and provide a new way to acquire future skills and knowledge, Tio is the new way to invent, play and learn.


– Invented by Javier Soto, Jeff Gough, Luis Martin

HAIZE is a magic compass for your bicycle that, instead of pointing north, points to the destination you set in the app. HAIZE leaves you free to choose your own route through the city. It also makes your ride safer by letting you keep your phone in your pocket.

If you feel like navigating the traditional way, HAIZE also offers turn-by-turn navigation, telling you where exactly to turn, so you can arrive to your destination in the minimum time.

The design of HAIZE is stripped down to the essence; both the led-based display and the aluminium body combine simplicity with usability. The HAIZE LED-display gives you all the information you need at a glance; direction and distance in a simple and intuitive way. HAIZE lets you focus on the road and explore the city.


 The brainchild of Neil Barron

While bikes are getting lighter and lighter, secure locks are getting heavier and heavier. The Litelok® team have harnessed the unique security properties of multiple innovative, lightweight materials to create a composite strap called Boaflexicore®.

Each layer of material provides additional security, meaning that the lock can withstand sustained attack to the highest level (over 5 minutes) from tools like cable cutters, bolt croppers and hacksaws.

Litelok® meets all British and International quality standards, and has achieved the Sold Secure Bicycle Gold certification. Weighing less than 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs), the strap is flexible and easy to secure around fixed objects. Litelok® also has a patented inline lock, which has been developed with a well-known UK manufacturer, to snap securely shut without the need for a key.