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Thursday, April 2, 1998 Published at 03:35 GMT 04:35 UK


Best of British for the Millennium
image: [ Many of the products could go on display in the Millennium Dome ]
Many of the products could go on display in the Millennium Dome

Tony Blair is revealing the first group of British products that will carry the official stamp of the Millennium into the next century.

The 200 products, unveiled to world leaders attending London's Asia-Europe Asem 2 conference, were chosen after a nationwide competition run by the Design Council to identify the best in design and innovation.

[ image: Design Council: three more competition rounds]
Design Council: three more competition rounds
The products range from inventions for hi-tech industries to simple environmentally friendly goods making the most of recycling technologies.

Mr Blair said: "The Millennium Products show the range of creativity and innovation in this country.

"These are world-beating designs that will help improve the quality of our lives and give our economy the edge over our competitors."

Among the products on display at the exhibition will be a fuel-efficient passenger aircraft engine and a simple plastic shoe to prevent lameness in cows.

[ image: Millennium Products are part of the Cool Britannia image change]
Millennium Products are part of the Cool Britannia image change
The judges of the competition also singled out a special fibre called Gorix which conducts electricity through its fibres to generate heat and can be used for everything from skiwear to blankets. NASA has commissioned space gloves to be made out of Gorix.

Design Council Chief Executive Andrew Summers said: "It's exciting to see companies focusing on consumers and using adventurous design to create products and services that people want to use.

[ image: Blair: wants to promote creative design]
Blair: wants to promote creative design
"The successful products are not just visions of the future, their benefits can be enjoyed right now, in industry, on the high street and at home."

Products in the exhibition have the right to use the Millennium Product marque and may be placed in the Millennium Dome under construction at Greenwich, south-east London.

Companies can enter products in three more rounds as the Design Council hopes to collect 2000 products for the Millennium. The products range from the luxurious to the practical.

One company, Design Acumen Ltd, has developed an aircraft cabin which maximises space, increases privacy and provides enough space to convert seats into beds.

Another has produced an interactive virtual reality CD-Rom to help surgeons safely hone their operating skills.

Remarkable Pencils Ltd has found a way of recycling polystyrene cups into pencils which write, erase and sharpen and have a 'lead' made mostly of plastic.

Cyberlife Technology has devised cyber-creatures which learn from their computer environment and can pass on what they've learned to new, improved generations of themselves in a mirror of genetic behaviour.

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