Calling all inventors — your place awaits

Inventors’ Lab Manager Ivan Mason (left) and Petridish co-founder Jason Lindsey stand amid drills...
Inventors’ Lab Manager Ivan Mason (left) and Petridish co-founder Jason Lindsey stand amid drills, lathes and robotic arms that make up the lab. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN.
A Dunedin start-up hub is hoping to encourage more inventors and dreamers with the creation of a new laboratory.

Petridish co-founder Jason Lindsey said it had just celebrated opening its "Inventors’ Lab", which could host up to another 20 individual inventors to go with the dozens of businesses that have used the space since it was launched nearly eight years ago.

"It’s definitely a major development.

"We’ve opened it up with the intention of bringing people together — and turning living ideas into a real thing."

There had already been significant interest in the lab, he said.

"We have been working towards this in the past four years.

"The fact we started on this at the time of Covid-19 meant it has been a battle .... We ordered our Gib board for the lab in January 2021 — it didn’t arrive until September 2021.

"We would like to see a community of product designers to come together and exchange ideas."

The Inventors’ Lab would have "no judgement" at all.

"There’s no such thing as bad ideas; as even those bad ideas can lead to good ideas.

"It’s going to be of a size that will lower the barriers to sharing the ideas and the cost of proto-typing the ideas."

Mr Lindsey said he was also "keenly aware" not to be too prescriptive in their approach.

The lab had a range of equipment, including drills, lathes, 3-D printers and robotics.

"Having dealt with a lot of start-up businesses, what you would like to happen can become detrimental to your product if you insist that’s the only way that it can happen.

"You have to be flexible and think of ways the customer might approach the product."

Mr Lindsey said he was reluctant to begin to "pigeon-hole" the nature of the products that could be designed or invented at the lab.

"As we’ve laid it out in the past couple of months, we’ve anticipated work stations for 12 to 20 users, and we have a lot of stations within that for electronic works—it’s taken up a bit more room than we originally designed, but that’s also promising.

"I’m cautiously excited, but I am excited all the same."