Finding your way around the metro is tough at the best of times, but if you’re blind it’s impossible.
Hence, Easymetros! The hand-held device can get you to your platform, and tell you which train to take. “I was on the metro with a blind friend and realised just how difficult it was for him,” said inventor Florence Poulet-Daumas. “It made me think of inventing something small enough to fit in a pocket.” For the time being Easymetros is only designed to work in Paris, but obviously has the potential to make sense of any subway system in the world. The device has now won the top prize at France’s celebrated Prix Lepine inventors’ fair. Some of the inventions beaten by Easymetros include an extension hand to help pick up those hard-to-pick-up things, a triangular drumkit which fits into the corner of your average square room, a helmet cover to let motorcyclists keep up with fashion, and a handy way of controlling unruly shampoo bottles in the shower. The Prix Lepine is in its 108th year. Past winners include Meccano, the classic masher for making perfect puree, and the first simple washing machine.