Dominic Wilcox is an inventor like no other. He has a talent for turning the most mundane of dilemmas, like eating peas with a fork, into absurd-but-oh-so-YES solutions, like making genetically modified square peas. Here, we catch up with Dominic to celebrate the release of his new book, Variations on Normal. It is filled with many new fun inventions such as the genius toothbrush maraca, perfect to brighten those gloomy Monday mornings.
You were made Anorak hero last year in our inventions issue. What have you been up to since then?
Since the Inventions edition of Anorak I've made a giant listening device that works just like tourist binoculars you might get at the seaside, except in my invention you can hear for miles instead of see for miles. I installed it at the Sage Gateshead music performance centre in the North East and people could listen across the river to different sounds in Newcastle. My favourite was listening to the sounds of cows in a field eating grass and kids in the skate board park.
If you were given the opportunity to make one of your inventions, which one would it be?
I'd like to build the cloud catcher so that I could look around some clouds from the comfort of my back garden.
How long do you spend examining a simple object before inspiration strikes?
I think I have about 10 to 15 seconds of super creative thought each day. The rest of the time I'm just thinking about the everyday things around us, trying to come up with something I haven't seen before. It's fun to change the normal stuff we see everyday into something odd or surprising.
Our current issue's theme is CITIES. What would you wish to see invented in every city of the world?
Those giant cranes are wasted just carrying bricks. They should be used to help people get to where they want to go quickly. I would like to use cranes to transport the elderly to the shops and back home for example.
Is there one object you wish you had invented?
I wish I had invented a time machine to tell myself as a young boy that I should start inventing things as soon as possible. It doesn't matter how young you are, you can still make great things if you put your mind to it.
Dominic Wilcox's new book, Variations on normal is out now and you can buy it from his online shop here for just £10.