The universally hated “cone-of-shame” might be a thing of the past if Tallangatta veterinarian Torquil McKillop has his way.
Dr McKillop is one of five amateur inventors to have their innovation shortlisted to win the Life Tech Challenge, featuring a $10,000 prize and ongoing mentorship.
His invention integrates technology and dog behaviour to create a less humiliating alternative to the traditional cone, known as an Elizabethan Collar, used to prevent pets licking or biting wounds.
Dr McKillop told judges the plastic collar was hated by pets, owners and veterinarians alike.
“It’s 2017 and there has to be something better than the cone,” he said.
It was a challenge from his wife, that he couldn’t do any better than contestants on The Apprentice, that inspired Andrew Konecnik.
From that, the Bottleblock was invented, a water or juice bottle designed to encourage healthy children, while also tackling landfill issues by creating fun, collectable bottles.
“If you teach them early on to drink water or healthy juice then it not only benefits the person long-term but also the whole community,” he said.
Malcolm Thompson and Garry Brinkmann’s Tec Box aims to prevent feelings of isolation by providing an opportunity to interact and has already been successfully trialed in an nursing home.
Mr Thompson said it was Mr Brinkmann’s own poor eyesight that inspired the simple remote and multimedia program.
“We wanted to create something to help when his vision goes and it has morphed into something huge,” he said.
Alex Sweetman’s mental health app was inspired by a need he saw in the community and his experience studying counselling.
“Technology often gets a bad rap as disconnecting us from society, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to use technology for good and to bring hope and support into people’s life,” he said.
As a small business owner and consultant Jane Harris knows how hard it can be to find the right software and technology from a sea of “chaos”.
Her and Dimity Brassi’s invention Zolveit aims to reduce this stress by comparing and recommending the right products and software.
The winner will be revealed on October 26.