The ‘iiclip’ idea was first conceived by a former research physicist turned inventor Dr Kin Kam around the mid noughties. However, he initially concentrated on developing the iiCap instead, which is a specially designed cap with an adjustable support systems incorporated on the underside of the cap’s peak. Prototypes of the iiCap were demonstrated to the enthusiastic British public at the British Invention Show in October 2009, where the iiCap was awarded a Silver medal in the invention category. With this encouragement and an imminent TV publicity opportunity (a little of that later!), Kin ordered production of the iiCap which then had a successful inaugural product launch at the entrepreneurial show, Venturefest Yorkshire in February 2010.
Kin at Venturefest Yorkshire 2010
In the following month, Kin and the iiCap got a great publicity boost when they were shown on BBC’s special charity edition of Dragons’ Den; ‘Sports Relief does Dragons Den’ where Kin was paired up with celebrity supporter and comedian Jason Manford. Fortunately(!), Kin did not get the funding from the Dragons because they didn’t get it. Theo Paphitis said “I played most sports… I have a little clip that goes behind my head and keep my glasses on”. I believe Theo was either talking about a device called wedgees, or eyewear retainers (e.g. from brands Croakies, Cabiz, Chums) which are like elasticated bands with ends attached through the spectacles arms and is then worn with the band securely attached to the back of the head, which surely secure the glasses, but works by increasing the pressure contact between the glasses and the user. The iiCap or iiClip uniquely does not increase the contact pressure, and is a cap or cap accessory products with beneficial applications for eyewear users, rather than an eyewear accessory which are different products.
Inventor Kin Kam and comedian Jason Manford at ‘Sport Relief does Dragons’ Den’
The iiCap works and function beautifully, but the apparently ‘simple’ support systems were surprisingly difficult to manufacture in quantities and necessitated significant amount of manual labour to make. Improved design and manufacturing processes of the support systems were called for, but this would be very expensive. Whilst the iiCap received great response from customers, we also received many remarks from potential customers that they also like to experience similar functionality as the iiCap, but with their own cap. Hence, it would make a lot of sense to develop such a product, this time as a cap accessory rather than the specially designed iiCap. However, this is not going to be easy for a lone inventor with limited resources. Fortunately, just as Kin was being denied the investment opportunity by the TV’s Dragons, through circuitous circumstances, he met with a trio of talented Manchester based designers with sport products design expertise and experience. They saw and appreciated the opportunity immediately and we subsequently formed a joint venture to develop the iiClip. As a special acknowledgement, the trio (in alphabetical order) are Stuart Burns, Michael Hinchliffe and Damian Vesey of Ipeology Ltd.
Preview of iiClip at North West Inventors Expo in April 2011
The first batch of iiClip will arrive in July 2011. Keep follow us for future exciting development.
© 2011 Inclusive Innovations Ltd.