PHOTOS: See ideas from Paris' 123rd annual inventors’ contest 

The ballpoint pen and the potato masher are among previous inventions shown at the Concours Lépine - which will win this year?

split image of four-player chess and visitors at innovation competition in paris
Visitors will try out four-player chess as well as a pedal that can charge phones
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Paris is full of new ideas this week as the world’s most prestigious inventors’ competition returns to the capital. We look at some of this year's creations.

The 123rd Concours Lépine contest rewards innovative and original inventions and, for some, can be a stepping stone to getting them commercialised.

The famous contest is hotly contested and previous inventions featured include contact lenses, the potato masher, the steam iron and the ballpoint pen.

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This year’s event showcases 250 new eco-friendly inventions across six different categories to be judged by the 45 volunteers of the independent jury.

The result will be revealed in a private evening ceremony on May 10. Visitors to the Foire de Paris will be able to see the inventions until Sunday evening (May 12). 

Barbara Dorey, general director of the Concours Lépine, told The Connexion that one characteristic that the inventors share is that “they all came across a problem or need and their invention seeks to solve it.” 

The prizes are honorary but the exposure that the Concours brings can lead to commercial success.

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Inventions this year 

The inventors, who are on average around 40 years old, come from a variety of backgrounds: employees working in their spare time, students with fresh ideas or unemployed people devoted to their invention.

To be able to enter the contest the invention must have a prototype and it must be patented. 

“This means that the inventions are both original and are protected and cannot be stolen,” said Mrs Dorey.

The idea must also be in line with the Concours’ codes (no weapons or pharmaceuticals) and the inventions must be presented in person and checked during the exhibition.

Neoca - This bike helmet, which is compliant with European safety standards, is disguised as a fashion accessory. All its parts are individually recyclable and it is highly customisable.
Eveia Premier Energy - This pedal machine can help people stay healthy while working at their desks while also being able to charge your phone. Invented by Vincent Fourdinier, the ‘Eveia Premier Energy’ battles inactivity at desks and allows you to charge your device in 1,000 steps.
Jeu d'échecs à 2 ou 4 - This invention transforms chess from a two player game to a four player game. With 192 squares and three spinning wheels, Lionel Blégean’s invention introduces even more strategy to the classic game.
Koolice - This silicone invention allows you to eat your ice lolly with no spillage, avoiding waste and sticky fingers. It is reusable and can also act as a lid or a holder.
Dispositif d'aimantation souple - This invention by Sophie Lebon is an ultra-light sort of crown that helps children avoid distractions in school by reducing both visual and auditory stimulations nearby.

Past winners

The Concours has had many illustrious winners and candidates since its inception in 1901. 

Some of its most notable inventions include the potato masher which then led to the birth of the Moulinex company, the ballpoint pen, the electric wheelchair, an automatic bread dispenser that can serve you hot baguettes at any time, a machine to write in Braille, individual parachutes for aviators, contact lenses, the lawnmower and the card game 1,000 Bornes. 


The competition was started in 1901 by Louis Lépine, a police chief in Paris. When walking through the Parisian streets, he saw many artisans, merchants and shopkeepers creating new products and things, particularly games and toys, and decided that he had to come up with a way to put these creations forward. 

The first edition was purely for toys and took place over several months. It was won by a building board game called Trix which was the first ‘mechanical’ board game. 

Having seen the enthusiasm and passion surrounding inventions and the Concours, Lépine decided to extend it to inventions. It has since grown to become perhaps the most famous invention competition in the world.

Due to its fame, it has become international. At this edition, a delegation from Taiwan, from China and from Poland entered, adding their inventions to the mix.

“The competition has evolved over time along with society. In a lot of ways, the Concours Lépine is a reflection of society as it tries to solve the various problems included in it,” said Mrs Dorey.