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Problem-solving Finns create 15,000 new inventions each year

The most common Finnish invention is a device that measures something or other, but there is a wide variety among the inventions produced here. Among last year’s highlights was a door handle that allows parents privacy in the bedroom, preventing children from getting in.

Jukka Näräkkä työryhmineen keksi viime vuonna matalan meluaidan, jonka pitäisi olla yhtä tehokas melun vaimentaja kuin perinteinen 3-4 metriä korkea aita. Aita asennetaan hyvin lähelle rataa ja sen yli näkee. Image: Soundim

Every year the Finnish Invention Foundation funds around 150 inventions. Finding the best is hard work, as Finns are enthusiastic inventors.

"Finnish inventors reflect a problem-solving ability," says the Foundation’s director Juha Jutila. "Every Monday we go through new inventions. Almost every month something comes that really excites us."

Private inventors don’t lack ideas, but often struggle to find funding. The hardest task of all is finding customers. Henry Rimminen’s invention of a device that analyses a person’s emotional state through changes measured in the finger came about by accident. It is still a big step forward, however.

"The skin’s electrical conductivity has been used to analyse emotional states for 100 years, but now it’s smaller and wireless," said Rimminen.

Tomi Ek invented the removable “private handle”, which allows people to lock a room’s door to keep out animals, children, workmen or whoever else might be in the house.

Privacy in the bedroom

"You could say that this safeguards mums’ and dads’ time in the bedroom," said Ek. "The only disturbance would be the banging at the door. You would not believe how many enquiries we’ve had."

Another of last year’s inventions was a quick alcohol testing kit.

"It’s a testing strip that goes in the mouth," says inventor Petri Särkelä. "Then it measures the alcohol level from your saliva, and if there is any alcohol it turns different colours. Very simple. And the limits can change according to the limits in different countries."

Other popular fields include the healthcare industry, and the Foundation’s director Jutila is a fan of the gaming industry.

"What the game industry has done, that cannot go unremarked. It will ensure that some kind of industrial sector will arrive in Finland."

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