One of Britain's leading inventors has warned that a "Google generation" who rely on the internet for everything are in danger of becoming "brain-dead".
Trevor Baylis, who invented the wind-up radio, said children are losing creativity and practical skills because they spend too much time in front of screens. He fears that the next generation of inventors is being lost, with young people often unable to make anything with their hands. But he said children could rediscover vital skills if schools used practical toys. Mr Baylis said:"Children have got to be taught hands-on, and not to become mobile phone or computer dependent. They should use computers as and when, but there are so many people playing with their computers nowadays that spend all their time sitting there with a stomach."
"They are dependent on Google searches. A lot of kids will become fairly brain-dead if they become so dependent on the internet, because they will not be able to do things the old-fashioned way."
Many of Mr Baylis's inventions have been gadgets to help the disabled. He recalled how much of his motivation came from an accident when he was working as a circus stunt man. He said: "I did an underwater escape act in a Berlin circus in 1970. When I was in the circus I had a very passionate affair with an aerial ballet star, a lovely girl from Vienna. One night, she bounced off the net and hit the side and died halfway through the show and it broke my heart. I suddenly realised disability is only a banana skin away."
Mr Baylis still has a workshop where he works on his inventions at his home in Twickenham, south-west London. He is currently lobbying the Government to do more to protect the intellectual property of inventors.