Inventor Colin Furze needs your ideas for the future of travel

Since quitting his job as a plumber, Colin Furze has been spending most of his time in his garage, using his engineering skills to create all sorts of wacky, and often dangerous, contraptions. He is now a YouTube celebrity, with over two million subscribers watching him build his latest bonkers ideas and put them to the test will little regard for health and safety. He has made real-life fully-automated Wolverine claws, built an underground bunker in his back garden, and even broken the world record for the fastest pram, but now he needs your help with a new creation. Colin has teamed up with Ford’s Unlearn campaign to invent a new way for getting around, and needs the public’s most bonkers ideas for what he can make. We caught up with Colin to find out more about the project, and get his advice for budding engineers.

What is the Unlearn project all about?

Basically, Ford has challenged me to make a weird, crazy vehicle or machine, something that grasps their Unlearn concept. So I’ve got to forget everything I know and think outside the box. Anything goes really. I’ve done a shout-out video on my YouTube channel because I want everyone else’s input on it, so it’s not just my idea. I want to make something that the audience wants me to make.

It’s going well so far. The video already has thousands of comments, so I’ve got a lot of reading to do. I think the top ones at the moment are something that flies or some sort of Iron Man or Transformer suit. They’re ambitious, but that’s what I want people to be. There are a couple of odd ones, like people suggesting the steering wheel could be used to accelerate and the pedals used to turn. But that’s good because it shows they are thinking outside the box.

Which of the many transport gadgets you’ve invented so far is your favourite?

The most fun is either the mobility scooter or the drift trike. They’re a good laugh. The most dangerous is my jet bike. That thing just wants to kill you every time you get on it. It doesn’t like me, it just wants me to die. It spits out fire, it’s ridiculously loud, it could deafen you easily. I also made a tuk-tuk covered in guns. That’s pretty cool. And I’ve got a pram that’s got an engine in it. If you want to feel manly whilst pushing a pram, definitely get one with an engine in it.

How do you think we will all get around in the future? 

I think drones are cool. I saw a one-man drone thing the other week, but you can’t get very far in them at the moment because the batteries don’t last for very long. But who knows, maybe that’s the future. We’ll all be flying around instead of driving.

Colin Furze riding his drift trike
Colin Furze riding his drift trike

How did you first get into inventing gadgets?

I used to be a bit of fiddler when I was a kid. I used to mess around with stuff, trying to make things for my bike, taking stuff apart, playing with Lego. Then as I got older, I got tools and it sort of expanded from there. So rather than making stuff out of Lego, I was making it out of metal.

Which of all your inventions are you most proud of?

My magnetic shoes are one of my favourite ones. I made them so that I could walk upside down across the shed ceiling. I felt like I was making shed history that day.

Do you use any of your inventions in your everyday life? Is your kitchen now full of bonkers gadgets?

It could be. There’s normally a fundamental flaw with most of the things I’ve made though. They’re either ferociously dangerous or a little bit of a pain to get started. I use the drift trike, I’ve been out in that for fun. I’ve got a knife that toasts the bread as you cut it, but it’s so big and cumbersome and it’s a pain to clean.

Do you still use your underground bunker?

Yea, I’ve turned into a little museum of all my inventions. My mates also use it for band practice and the PlayStation is down there. There’s also a drum kit that I’m teaching myself to play. It’s great because you can be really terrible at them and nobody bangs on the wall to tell you to shut up.

Colin Furze in his underground bunker
Colin Furze in his underground bunker

What do you family and friends think of your day job?

They love it! They get to see some right cool stuff. They get to have a go with all the things I make. It’s a win-win situation because they get all the fun without all the work!

You’ve broken a few world records, including world’s longest motorcycle and fastest speed on a mobility scooter. Which one do you hope to break next?

I’ve always wanted to do a channel crossing of some sort, but I get seasick, so I’m not sure if it’s the best idea.

What advice would you give to any aspiring engineers?

Get some tools and just have a go. I think a lot of people go on engineering courses thinking they’re going to make stuff and its all textbook based. Just fiddle about with stuff, take things apart and don’t spend all your life on the computer building it on Minecraft.

Are there any of your projects you think are a good starting point for people to try at home?

The drift trike is pretty good. It looks complicated but every element of it is quite basic. Or the magnet shoes, because they’re just made from bits of microwave. You can make a lot of things out of a microwave transformer. You want something that’s easy to do so you can get a result quickly and then get the bug for it. So yea, the magnet shoes or the toaster knife. All made from bits of microwave. Just don’t get an electric shock off the capacitor. That’ll hurt that will.

To help Colin with his new project, check out the video below and leave your suggestion for a futuristic vehicle. He could choose your idea to bring to life!

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