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Episode 1

Inventors try to help a disabled man who dreams of snowboarding, a hairdresser who was born with one hand and a man who could die if his skin is exposed to sunlight.

A team of inventors attempt to change the lives of three inspiring people with very different problems.

Forty-year-old Graham was passionate about snowboarding until an accident dramatically changed his life. He was caught up in an avalanche and buried under the snow for half an hour before rescuers could dig him out. Now he is severely disabled, spending most of his time in a wheelchair, and with limited use of his arms and legs. But, despite all the trauma he has suffered, Graham dreams of one thing - getting back on the slopes and back on his snowboard again. Can award-winning engineer Yusuf Muhammed help make his wish come true? There are already a range of skis and snowboards adapted for the disabled, but none that meet Graham's ambition - to stand upright and control the board independently.

Alexander lives with a rare genetic disorder that causes extreme sensitivity to the sun's ultraviolet rays. He is 10,000 times more sensitive to sun light than the average person. If he exposes his skin it immediately blisters and burns, and he has a very high chance of getting skin cancer. He lives at home with his parents and for the last 24 years he has spent his life avoiding going outside. When he does go out he has to cover every inch of his body, including wearing a homemade helmet and visor which are bulky and draw the attention of everyone who sees him. For materials expert Zoe Laughlin, it is a huge challenge. She needs to find a way to protect Alex's skin from the harmful rays which is lightweight and ventilating, whilst allowing him to go out in public without being stared at.

Kyle's ambition has always been to be a hairdresser, but he was born with a deformed hand that makes it impossible for him to hold hair while cutting or styling it. Determined not to give up on his dream he has enrolled at a hairdressing academy, but he has reached a point where his disability is stopping him from progressing any further, and he cannot complete the course. Engineer Jude Pullen needs to come up with a solution that will give Kyle the dexterity required to work as a professional hairstylist. And, in a world where appearances are everything, it is important that whatever he designs looks the part too.

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 16 Aug 2018 08:00

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Role Contributor
Expert Ross Atkin
Expert Akram Hussein
Expert Zoe Laughlin
Expert Yusuf Muhammad
Expert Jude Pullen
Expert Ruby Steel
Expert Ryan White
Expert Haiyan Zhang
Executive Producer Ros Ponder
Executive Producer Tom Watt-Smith
Director Damian O'Mahony
Director Itamar Klasmer
Production Company Studio Lambert


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Engineers have been improving lives since ancient times - explore further with The Open University

Engineers have been improving lives since ancient times - explore further with The Open University

Visit OpenLearn, the OU’s home of free learning, to learn more about engineering.

Charities and Organisations

Charities and Organisations

A list of charities and organisations that supported production.