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Cracking Ideas to make life better

3 June 2020 | Posted in News

What have a litter-eating robot, a 3-D cheese printer, a biscuit-dunking machine and an automatic boot polisher got in common? They are gadgets created by some of Britain’s brightest young inventors when challenged to design something that ‘makes life better’.

The ‘Cracking Ideas’ challenge was set by The Intellectual Property Office and world-renowned animators, Aardman. Open to schools and young people aged between 5 and 11, resources included learning and activity packs designed by Aardman. Its aim was to inspire inventors of the future and highlight the importance of protecting the intellectual property in their designs.

More than 1,500 youngsters took part in the competition, taking inspiration from the innovative Aardman duo to create their very own helpful inventions.

The overall winning invention is ‘Litteration’, a robotic figure complete with antennae, stretchy arms and wheels designed by 9 year old Dominic Marday of Greenwich, London. The conscientious robot is designed to roam the streets, eating, sorting and recycling litter to help clean up the environment. Dominic is in for a ‘cracking’ treat to reward him for his win. His invention is to feature in Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up ( - a new, augmented Wallace & Gromit story, which will bring Wallace & Gromit alive in an entirely new way, while creating a cutting-edge new platform for storytelling. Later this year, join Wallace and his faithful hound as their latest business venture, Spick & Spanners, takes on the contract of a lifetime: to ‘Fix Up’ Bristol. Fans will be invited to download a free app and play along at home, as an employee, and for the first time ever, be able to step directly into the world of Wallace & Gromit.

Prizes for other finalists and runners up include a visit from Aardman animator Jim Parkyn to the winner’s school for a model-making workshop and an exciting range of goody bags.

Tim Moss, CEO of the IPO, said: The UK is great place for innovation and creativity. We know that young people have the gift of imagination without limits, and the wealth of clever creations we have received from young designers across the country show how true this is. It is inventions like these that make our world a better, safer, easier and more enjoyable place in which to live.”

Aardman’s Merlin Crossingham, Wallace & Gromit Creative Director for Aardman, said: “We have loved seeing how young people from all over the UK have put on their thinking caps to design some ingenious out-of-this-world inventions that would make even Wallace and Gromit proud!”

Winning ‘Cracking Ideas’ competition entries can be seen at along with fun things to do and learning resources for young people from primary school age through to higher education.

Overall winner Dominic Marday, 8-11 age group, Plumcroft Primary School, Greenwich, London. Litteration is a robotic figure designed to roam the streets, eating, sorting and recycling litter to help clean up the environment. Invention to feature in The Big Fix Up - a brand new interactive digital adventure starring Wallace & Gromit.

Finalist Cohen Stewart, 4 -7 age group, 7 years old, Wigtown, Scotland. The 3-Brie Printer prints edible cheese. A claw puts a cracker onto a plate which passes through printer on a conveyor belt. Buttons are used to choose the type of cheese is shown on a screen. Levers control the claw and the thickness of the cheese. A visit from Aardman animator to the winner’s school for a model-making workshop.

Finalist Finn Alcoe, 8-11 age group, 9 years old, St Albans. With the Dunk n’ Go a robotic arm dips biscuits into an automatic biscuit dunker. A dial selects the degree of sogginess. A visit from Aardman animator to the winner’s school for a model-making workshop.

Finalist runner up Felix Thomas, 4 – 7 age group, 6 years old, Silverhill Primary School Mickleover, Derby East Midlands. The Bootomatic automatically cleans your muddy boots. A Special Cracking Ideas goody bag will be on the way to Felix


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