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Wish we’d thought of that: Intriguing design innovations

The 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are open for entries. If you’ve got an amazing product, service, process or venture – or you know someone who needs to be shoulder-tapped – now’s the time to get it out there. And to help encourage entries and showcase the categories, we’re going to be regularly showcasing the best innovations we come across. We focus next on innovative ideas that show a high degree of Kiwi ingenuity and help New Zealand stand out on the world stage.


Last year’s Innovation in Design & Engineering winner, Ogo, created by Kevin Halsall, aims to improve the lives of people with disabilities and mobility challenges. “It’s part of my passion,” Halsall told Idealog last year. “The more I’m innovating, the bigger the hole I see in the market.”

The Ogo is a hands-free electric personal all-terrain transport device that enables a person with a condition such as paraplegia, spina bifida, or is missing a limb to move relatively freely. But the Ogo is a whole lot more than just a fancy wheelchair.

The Ogo boasts a patented active seat control system that uses core muscle strength to activate electronic sensors that power the mechanical parts which move the device. Looking like a chair that might have been transported back in time from the 23rd century, it’s made of fibreglass, has a top speed of 20 kilometres per hour, and can travel between 30 and 40 kilometres before needing to be recharged by being plugged into an electrical outlet.

Pretty innovative, no?


Faucets and showerheads aren’t exactly the first thing a lot of people think of when they think of interesting Kiwi innovations. That’s their mistake – after all, Methven has been designing fixtures considered to be some of the world’s most innovative for 130 years.

As chief marketing officer Matthew Jones told Idealog earlier this year: “For us, good innovation comes without compromise. It makes life simple and enriches our experience with water. Our Aurajet shower is a great example of this, providing superior coverage than conventional showering whilst only using nine litres of water per minute.”

Jones also says his company is a great example of a Kiwi success story. “We recognise the importance of water quality and preservation and seek to harness the power of the abundant natural resource we have in New Zealand. Methven has changed a lot in 130 years but the spirit of innovation established by our founder George Methven remains alive today. Technology will ensure the pace of change increases and consumers will be at the forefront of driving change. It is our challenge to ensure our core values remain alive for the next 130 years.”

Wine Grenade

We all like wine. But here’s the problem: wine takes a long time to mature – with no guarantee it’ll taste halfway decent.
Thankfully, those days are long past with Wine grenade, which gives winemakers the control and insight needed to create great wine, year after year. It’s micro-oxygenation, but not as you know it – they call it nano-oxygenation.

The company’s oxygen diffusion process delivers superior maturation outcomes for less expense. Their smart, cloud-connected devices are a step-change in wine maturation technology – and cost roughly the same as a traditional barrel.

Sounds like a wine-ing idea.

Rocket Lab

You know them, you love them… after all, it was thanks to them that Aotearoa put an object into space. Idealog has covered them extensively, and it seems likely we’ll continue to do so as long as Peter Beck & Co. keep literally shooting for the stars with 3D-printed rockets.

Robotics Plus

Cool robots doing cool things always interest us – especially if they’re built by a Kiwi company. Robotics Plus ticks all those boxes. Its apple picking robot is especially cool, with the ability to pack 120 apples per minute, which naturally means it can transform the entire fruitpacking industry. Oh, and it’s also pretty mesmerising to watch in action.

 Do you have an innovation worth celebrating? Check out the categories for the 2017 Innovation  Awards, and tell your story by clicking here
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