Read Time:3 Minute, 10 Second

By  John Stevens

PUBLISHED: 17:30 EST, 25  December 2012 |  UPDATED: 17:30 EST, 25 December 2012


One of Britain’s leading inventors has warned  that  a ‘Google generation’ who rely on the internet for  everything  are in danger of becoming ‘brain-dead’.

Trevor Baylis, who invented the wind-up  radio, said children are losing creativity and practical skills because they  spend too much time in front of screens.

The 75-year-old said he fears that the next  generation of inventors is being lost, with young people often unable to make  anything with their hands.

Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind up radio, has warned the internet is leaving children 'brain-dead'Trevor Baylis, inventor of the wind up radio, has warned  the internet is leaving children ‘brain-dead’

But he said children could rediscover vital  skills if schools used Meccano and other practical toys.

Mr Baylis said: ‘Children have  got to  be taught hands-on, and not to become mobile phone or computer  dependent.

‘They should use computers as and when, but  there are so many people playing with their computers nowadays that spend all  their time sitting there with a stomach.

‘They are dependent on Google searches. A lot  of kids will become fairly brain-dead if they become so dependent on the  internet, because they will not be able to do things the old-fashioned  way.’

Recalling how his career had its roots in the  very different world in which he grew up, he said he was  about five or six  years old when he began to invent devices. ‘During the war, when I was not at  school I used to go out and collect the rubbish,’ said Mr Baylis.

‘One day I was out and went to this house  around the corner  from where I grew up in Southall, Middlesex, and this  lady said, “I’ve got a box of stuff for you Trev, you’d better get a  wheelbarrow.” So I picked up this thing and on the way back I was intrigued and  I looked inside and it turned out to be a huge Meccano set.

Inventor Trevor Baylis says today's children are dependent on Google searchesInventor Trevor Baylis says today’s children are  dependent on Google searches

‘If I wanted to make a five-wheeled motor car  then I could, or a forklift truck. And that’s really what it is about, because  that stays with you all of your life.’

The inventor, who was awarded the OBE in  1997, believes that  simple challenges in schools  using tools such as  Meccano  model kits would give children invaluable skills.

He said: ‘With Meccano you could do your own  reproduction of, say, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

‘If you brought Meccano back into primary or  secondary schools then you’d have class one against class two – you’ve got four  hours  to make the Sydney Harbour Bridge and we’ll see which one is the  strongest.’

Many of Mr Baylis’s inventions have been  gadgets to help the disabled.

He recalled how much of his motivation came  from an accident when he was working as a circus stunt man.

He said: ‘I did an underwater escape act in a  Berlin circus in 1970. When I was in the circus I had a very passionate affair  with an aerial ballet star, a lovely girl from Vienna.

‘One night, she bounced off the net and hit  the side and died halfway through the show and it broke my heart.

‘I suddenly realised disability is only a  banana skin away.’

Mr Baylis still has a workshop  where he  works on his inventions at his home in Twickenham, south-west London. He is  currently lobbying the Government to do more to protect the intellectual  property of inventors.

Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star