■ The TV journalist, 36, on having to invent an anti-dad alarm and a competition to find young brainboxes
Tell us about your new competition.
We want to get young people excited about Stem [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]. It invites them to invent something to make the world a better place. The winning invention will be mocked up and displayed in the Science Museum.
You were a Young Engineer For Britain…
I loved inventing stuff. My dad used to move all my stuff so when I was 13 I made a book with a circuit in it so when he moved things it would set off an alarm. When I was 19 I started working at Black & Decker and reduced the time it took to make the fans in their Leaf Hog machine. It involved training in Japanese production techniques and measuring lots of fans but it saved them a load of money and, from that, I won the Young Engineer For Britain award.
What everyday gadgets need a redesign?
Microphones — it’s mad they still have to be wired through your clothes and attached to a battery on your back. Apparently there aren’t wireless microphones of the same quality as those we use now. Or maybe there are but the BBC can’t afford them.
How smart is your home?
I run my speakers, lights and kettle from my phone. I’ve got all the lighting settings and can change the colour. I’m using an iPhone X but not seeing a massive difference from the previous ones but the photo quality is brilliant.
Do you use any beauty gadgets?
I’ve got a Dyson hairdryer. It’s expensive but quiet and I have to get up at 3am for work so it’s good not to make too much noise.
Who are your favourite people on social media?
I’m not on Instagram as I feel I spend too much time on Twitter already. I follow industry leaders, funny people like Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, science people and politicians.
How do you watch TV?
I’ve got a TV but spend so much time travelling I watch a lot on my iPad. I like getting trains as it gives me the chance to watch something for an hour. I’m using the most recent iPad but I had one of the early ones and it still works just as well — but I left it at a friend’s house and had to buy a new one.
What’s been your most disappointing tech purchase?
I’ve discovered I don’t need a remote-controlled kettle. Putting on a kettle isn’t a big deal. And I invested in the Batband on Kickstarter — it was a headphone that didn’t go over your ears. It was like a headband and the sound was supposed to go through your skull. It didn’t work.
What gadget would you invent?
A charger for human beings. I get up at 3am for BBC Breakfast, then do loads of other bits and bobs and usually get to bed around 9pm. So I’d invent something like a human phone charger I could use when my energy’s falling.
■ Equinor’s Young Imagineers competition is open to people aged seven to 14. Closing date is Oct 21. youngimagineers.equinor.com