Re-inventing Christmas! Science Museum’s Inventor in Residence reveals his latest ideas


Christmas maybe fun, but there are still plenty of annoyances to deal with – from Christmas trees dropping pine needles over the carpet to having to wrap countless presents.

Mark Champkins, the Science Museum’s Inventor in Residence, has come up with some new ideas designed to solve some common Christmas problems in the future. He came up with the following ideas by taking a closer look at the Science Museum’s galleries and collections and talking to visitors about their particular Christmas gripes.

Mark’s Christmas themed inventions

· “Vac-Pac-Wrapping” – a Christmas themed vacuum pack bag designed to take away the hassle of wrapping presents. Inspired by vac-pac storage bags for clothes and bedding. Instead of struggling with scissors and sellotape, place the gift inside the bag, pull the seal closed, suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner, and watch it shrink wrap before your eyes! A more robust alternative to wrapping paper, the vacuum pack bags can be reused over and over again.

Mark says, “One of my biggest gripes is having to wrap presents. It always seems to take ages and after the presents are opened there seems to be piles of wrapping paper everywhere, which seems a bit wasteful. So this idea seemed like to perfect solution to saving time on the gift wrapping and being sustainable at the same time.”

· “Bio Bauble” –  a Christmas bauble that contains a seedling Christmas tree, complete with soil and fertiliser inside a biodegradable transparent sphere. Hang this aesthetic bauble on your Christmas tree and then plant it in the ground after the festive period and watch out for the next Christmas tree as it grows!

Mark says, “This idea came to me whilst I was admiring some transparent spheres in the Science Museum’s Challenge of Materials gallery. The plastic used for the bauble is a type which breaks down at a similar rate to which the seedling grows. The bauble also protects the seedling from the weather and animals that might eat it, until the new tree outgrows the sphere.”

· “Guess the Gift”
Have you ever tried to work out what’s inside your un-opened present? Aimed at children, this kit allows you to ‘scientifically investigate’ your present using instruments including a magnet, a set of scales, a torch, a magnifying glass and dental mirror.

Mark says, “This idea was inspired by the feeling of excitement I used to feel as a kid as the presents began to build up underneath the Christmas tree. My brothers and I would subject our presents to some quite rigorous scientific tests, to try and figure out what was inside! I was also inspired by some of the exhibits in the Launchpad children’s gallery – which cover various physics phenomena.”

Mark has been Inventor in Residence at the Science Museum since 2011, tasked with devising products that spark an interest in science, design and engineering. He is an inventor and designer who gained public recognition after winning the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme in 2007 for his Concentrate range – products designed to help children stay focussed in the classroom.

Mark started his two-year tenure at the Science Museum with a flurry of inventions including levitating cutlery, a magnetic chopping board, and the iGramo - a gramophone-inspired amplifier for mp3 players and mobile phones. He has recently launched a new range of products called Beauty in the Making in the Science Museum Shop, each of which are decorated with illustrations detailing how the product was made.

Peter Jones, Entrepreneur and judge on BBC Dragons’ Den said, “Mark is a real ideas man, and wacky inventor if ever I saw one. He’s going to come up with something that makes a lot of money one day!”

Uncover a host of festive activities at the Science Museum this Christmas. From 22 December to 6 January we've got plenty of special events and workshops for all the family. Come to our Festive Physics Christmas show, which answers all the questions you’ve wanted to ask about Christmas! The show takes you on a journey through Christmas day, from how Santa’s reindeer might speed around the world to why a giant cracker explodes - and finishes with a White Christmas, Science Museum style.

For more details visit

For further information and images please contact Laura Singleton, Science Museum Press Office on: 0207 942 4364 or e-mail: @LauraSingleton3 and @markchampkins. Visit

Visitor Information:
Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. Open daily 10.00 to 18.00, except 24-26 December. / 0870 870 4868
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Notes to Editors

Science Museum
The Science Museum’s collections form an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical change from the past. Aiming to be the best place in the world for people to enjoy science, the Science Museum makes sense of the science that shapes our lives, sparking curiosity, releasing creativity and changing the future by engaging people of all generations and backgrounds in science, engineering, medicine, technology, design and enterprise.

Mark Champkins
Born in 1977, Mark Champkins is a British designer and Inventor. Mark studied Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Manufacturing and Materials at Cambridge University. He won British Inventor of the Year for designing an innovative range of re-usable self-heating crockery. He later founded Concentrate – a company that produces products which are designed to enhance children’s concentration in the classroom. After pitching the Concentrate business to BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme in 2007, he won financial support from entrepreneur Peter Jones. For more information on Concentrate visit