In the Dome, the best of British: a baby spoon, a shopping trolley and roof tiles

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The Independent Online
BULLETPROOF LIFE jackets, emergency shelters and heat-activated baby spoons were added to the list of official millennium products yesterday, chosen to represent the best of British innovation.

"Each product is a symbol of Britain's finest qualities - creativity, inspiration, hard work, imagination," said Tony Blair after visiting the Millennium Dome yesterday.

"Just as the Dome should make us all proud of this nation's creativity and imagination, so should each of the millennium products."

The 235 products - drawn from various fields including advertising, telecommunications and engineering - bring the total of specially selected items to 1,012. Items previously named include the Teletubbies, Viagra and the Heathrow Express train.

In addition to being allowed to bear the "millennium product" logo, the items will be displayed in the Spiral of Innovation, sited next to the Dome in Greenwich, in 2000. The products will also be taken on a worldwide tour promoting British products.

"It's brilliant - this gives us a lot of oomph. Using the logo gives a real seal of approval," said Stephen Barker, the managing director of B&H Liquid Crystal Devices, which produced a baby feeding spoon that changes colour when food is too hot. "This will really help sales."

The items named yesterday in the fifth and final list of official products were chosen by a panel drawn from a pool of more than 80 judges, who were selected by the Design Council from the worlds of design, the media, academia and industry. Many of the judges represented organisations whose products have been selected, including the BBC, the Body Shop, Jaguar, Marks & Spencer, Safeway and Dyson. Items were nominated by the companies themselves.

Sir Roy Strong, a former keeper of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said the entire selection process was a "load of codswallop". He listed a range of selected items, including concrete roof tiles and a "waterbed for quadrupeds", that were "better suited to the Ideal Home Exhibition".

"What do they have to do with the Design Council?" he said on Radio 4's Today programme. "What do they have to do with British design?"

The Prime Minister told representatives of the companies whose items were selected: "Our future success depends on the qualities, you, your product and your company embody.

"Each of you knows that creation and innovation are at the heart of a successful business. They are also the foundations upon which our future economic success depends."

He also used the occasion to hit back at critics of the Dome project. He said: "It will be a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity. I defy anyone who sets foot in the Dome not to be awed by its sheer scale, variety or range of attractions."



An autonomous, remote-controlled submarine developed by Southampton University for collecting matter from the seabed up to four miles beneath the water


A shopping trolley made from recyclable plastic. It is rust-free, easier to push and half the weight of the conventional models, which cause mayhem in stores and litter towns and cities


The spoon uses pigments within the plastic to change colour when it is used with food above a temperature of 40C - the safe limit suggested by paediatricians to feed infants


These were designed especially to mark the millennium and "convey powerful messages about the UK, its culture and achievements of the past 1,000 years".



It uses the latest technologies to allow visitors to glimpse into the worlds of rivers, streams and oceans and their wildlife


Contains two innovations: specially balanced pockets designed to reduce fatigue in the user and a harness that moves in tune with the movements of the body