Lewis Hornby is a London-based product designer trained in Innovation Design Engineering and Civil Engineering. He has used his creative approach to tackle issues ranging from earthquake safety in developing countries, urban air pollution, to dehydration in people with dementia.
Over the past year, Hornby has been developing a new product inspired by his grandma’s struggle with dehydration, a potentially fatal problem for people with dementia. Many with dementia no longer feel thirst, or don’t equate drinking with quenching thirst – but after living in a care home for a month Hornby observed most have a very sweet tooth! He developed Jelly Drops, a solid and highly effective form of hydration designed to mimic sweets. Their bright colours and tactile nature encourage independent and dignified hydration; and their sugar-free, vegan, kosher and halal composition make them accessible to as many people as possible. Online videos of people enjoying jelly drops have been viewed over 100 million times.
In 2018 Hornby was involved in the invention of Pluvo, a cost-neutral solution to urban air pollution. Pluvo is street furniture that uses a mist of water droplets to remove pollutants from the air, whilst simultaneously using this mist to augment images to create a holographic-like advertising medium. Pluvo has partnered with the world’s largest out of home advertising agency and is set to launch next year.
In 2017 Hornby invented a substitute for steel reinforcement from recycled plastic bottles and rope. The aim was to create a cheap and accessible reinforcement to reduce deaths from building collapse during earthquakes in developing countries. He created a novel process that produces a solid bar with comparable tensile strength to steel, with only 20% the weight and 10% the cost. The materials required can be sourced locally, and all the necessary tools and instructions can be distributed in a small 1kg package.