Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh has spent the last eight years developing a product called Sugru, an air-curing silicone rubber that resembles modelling clay. It is malleable when removed from its packaging, retains its plasticity for thirty minutes, and adheres to aluminium, glass, wood and some plastics.
The product is marketed as a versatile rubber capable of repairing anything from broken power cables and laptops to dishwashers and hiking boots. It is also extremely useful as a means of customising grips for objects such as walking sticks so they are more comfortable for users.
Jane studied product design as a post-graduate research student at the Royal College of Art where, in 2003, she conceived the idea for the substance whilst experimenting with materials for her art work. After receiving a Creative Pioneer award from NESTA, she worked with retired scientists from Dow Corning and a graduate from the materials department of Queen Mary, University of London, to create the technology.
After failing to secure a partnership with a major distribution group, Jane set up her own factory, manufacturing and marketing Sugru from its East London base. The product now has customers in over 100 countries.