The Lépine competition, which rewards the best inventions, awarded its most prestigious distinction on Sunday to Colin Gallois and Lancelot Durand for "Dreeft", a braking system for wheelchairs.
"Dreeft" is a pair of wheels equipped with a back-pedal braking system, adaptable to any manual wheelchair. It stood out among the inventions in competition for this 122nd edition of the competition at the Paris Fair.
This braking system allows the user to slow down his chair without friction with the handrail and with "five times less effort than on traditional wheels", according to the organizers.
For this invention, chosen by a jury of 53 people, the winners were awarded the prize of the President of the Republic, in the form of a porcelain vase from Sèvres, a house in operation since the 18th century near Paris. The second most important prize, the Prime Minister's Prize, was awarded to Olivier Guillou for "Flowstop", an anti-flood device.
For the record, Olivier Guillou had just bought a stand up paddle (board on which you row standing up) when deadly floods hit the south of France a few years ago. He thought that the resistance of a paddle could make it an effective barrier against the waves in front of the entrance doors, garages or the French windows of the threatened dwellings. He thus created the "Flowstop", a light device, inflatable in one minute, which uses the same material as a paddle.
"With this, I stop water in a channel", according to the inventor. Communities, campsites with mobile homes or individuals can order these custom-designed devices, depending on the size of the openings to be protected. The connected universe prize rewarded Philippe Gesset for the "B'OTI Project", an intelligent personal assistance robot with a set of mobile applications and personal assistance objects.
This year, among nearly 400 inventions presented, most presented an ecological “gesture”, according to Barbara Dorey, member of the organization of the competition. Throughout its long history, the prestigious prize, founded in 1901 by the Prefect of Police Louis Lépine, has awarded prizes to the inventors of the ballpoint pen, the steam iron or even contact lenses.