From drawing board to chopping board: engineering a social win with Sharp

ChopSyc-topHumans Invent is all about great ideas and innovations, but now we’re proud to say it’s about making them become a reality too.

If you’ve read the news this week, you might have seen the inspiring story behind the Chop-Syc, the interactive chopping board one young inventor’s turned into a working prototype. What you might not know? It was all made possible through our social campaign.

In April, we dreamt up a competition for Humans Invent and Sharp Europe aiming to find the next generation of designers: One lucky inventor would claim a paid internship at the prestigious Sharp Europe Laboratories in Oxford and a chance to turn his or her prize-winning design into a functioning prototype.

It started with a hashtag: #GetItDownOnPaper. We tasked entrants with designing a solution to an everyday problem and then simply jotting down their idea on a piece of paper and posting it to Twitter. A flood of submissions followed, ranging from the impossible to the seriously patentable (An ultrasonic helmet to aid the blind? Genius.)


Like so many of the best ideas, #GetItDownOnPaper started life on a notebook page.

With the help of ten top scientists at Sharp Labs, we whittled the entries down to a shortlist of three: The Neat Diner, which aims to recycle everyday rubbish using biomimicry; an electricity-free climate control system, and an idea for portion control in the kitchen with ‘Chop-Syc’, a rugged touchscreen computer that pulls double duty as a cutting surface.

A week later, we had a winner: Siobhán Andrews, a Sustainable Product Design student at Falmouth University, whose interactive chopping board impressed the Sharp scientists unanimously.

Jump to October and Siobhán’s idea has turned into the fully-working prototype you see below, and her story has been featured on publications including The Verge, The Huffington Post, Engadget, Gizmodo UK, CNET and Trusted Reviews.

No need to prop up a delicate iPad on the kitchen counter: the Chop-Syc serves up recipes and guidance on healthy portion sizes while you cook. Siobhán says the seeds of an idea were planted when she was watching a video online one day: “I looked on a YouTube channel called If Only which comes up with everyday problems and there was one video on there where a woman said she didn’t have many resources for healthy eating – so I came up with this.”

From social media strategy to essential kitchen utensil – not the type of outcome you’d expect, but if you want us to surprise you with our work too, just drop us a line. We’d love to chat.