Good Design | Sugru: ‘Hack Things Better’

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It’s often said that the best inventions are the ones that come along and solve a common problem that’s yet to be fixed. This obviously gets harder to do as time goes by and the list of solutions to everyday problems slowly gets ticked off. Well what if a product came along that not only solved multiple problems, but also let you customize and actually improve existing products? Introducing Sugru, an affordable, silicone rubber clay that can be used for well, pretty much anything!

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Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, Sugru’s inventor, was studying for her masters degree at the RCA at the time when she had her vision for the product: “I don’t want to buy new stuff all the time. I want to hack the stuff I already have so it works better for me.” “I was making things with silicone sealants and sawdust, and started using the leftovers around the house. I modified a knife handle to make it more comfortable. My boyfriend said, ‘Imagine if everyone could do that — like with stiff jam-jar lids.’ It was a great idea.”. Realizing that there was a huge potential for this type of product in the world she set about assembling a small team of experts from the worlds of business and science to help her turn her prototypes into reality

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It took seven years of hard graft for Jane to to get Sugru into mass production but when it finally launched, the timing couldn’t have been better. Just as most of the western world was entering a recession, Sugru represented the save and thrift attitude that would fast replace the boom and bust of the last decade. People were ready for Jane’s vision and it was an instant success, getting orders worldwide. The genius of Sugru is that your imagination is the limit; just like in the digital world, you can now fully customize your physical world to suit your needs. It’s sticky enough to adhere to metal, wood, ceramic and plastic, whereupon it can become a handle, a protective coating or just a new, custom part. Once you have moulded it to the shape you desire, simply leave it for twenty four hours and you have a flexible adhesive that can withstand heat and cold of -60°C to 180°C. It’s dishwasher proof too!

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On the brand blog you can find some great videos and posts of different uses or ‘hacks’ that happy customers have sent in, showing off their new improved products. From creating a better usb socket  for your mac to acting as a bumper for your iphone, it’s all up there. They even attracted the attention of Google who created small handouts called ‘Googru‘ to prospective employee engineers at recruitment fairs. My favourite hack so far though has to be Lego meets Sugru, it’s just brilliant! All the childhood fun of Lego brought into the adult world, that has hours of creative fun written all over it for me.

It seems like all Jane and her teams work is starting to pay off and Sugru is going from strength to strength. I can’t wait to get my first pack and start hacking!