Driverless tractors to high-tech beer pong: A look back at some Sask. inventions from the past decade

Driverless tractors to high-tech beer pong: A look back at some Sask. inventions from the past decade

Saskatchewan inventors spent the past decade disproving the old saying "there's nothing new under the sun."

CBC spoke to several people in the province working to create something new in the past 10 years — from a gadget to keep beer cold while ice fishing to a driverless tractor.

With the 2010s officially in the record books, here's a look back at a few of those stories:

Beer pong 2.0

Back in 2015, Saskatoon's Jeff Nybo took the social media world by storm by creating an interactive beer pong table. 

SaskInvent.ca

Nybo had first envisioned a tricked-out beer pong table in 2011. Things kicked into high gear in 2013, when he entered and won an online contest with his table design.

The drinking game, in which two people attempt to toss a Ping-Pong ball into cups of beer, is played on a table. Nybo's custom-made beer pong tables feature flashing LED lights and a touch-sensitive tabletop that keeps score. 

A Facebook video about Nybo's table garnered millions of views, and American news stations picked up the story after a Kickstarter campaign to gauge demand for his product and build capital. 

Driverless tractor

While debate continues around self-driving cars, back in 2017, Regina-area inventor Norbert Beaujot introduced his driverless tractor at that year's Ag in Motion technology show. 

Beaujot, then 69, said he hoped the innovation would make farming easier and more profitable for the next generation. 

Steve Pasqualotto/CBC

Beaujot told CBC News it would save time and labour costs. It would also be cheaper than a conventional tractor, which requires "extras" like seats, steering wheels and cup holders.

SaskInvent

The same year Beaujot introduced his driverless tractor, CBC News met a group of students from the University of Saskatchewan working to solve a range of problems with their inventions.

Calling themselves SaskInvent, the multidisciplinary group focuses on designing new biomedical devices and technologies.

In 2017, their creations already included a device that could turn pages for those physically unable to do so themselves, a music system with a vibrating vest for people who are deaf, and 3D printed prosthetics for children.

A cool way to chill beer

In 2019, CBC News met a pair of inventors from Moose Jaw who created The DipStick — a collapsible tube that keeps beverages cold and within reach for people while ice fishing. 

Adam Butler found his drinks would freeze when forgotten outside. The solution was The DipStick — a device he said first came to him in a dream. When lowered into an ice-fishing hole, it keeps drinks cold without freezing them, and prevents them from floating away. 

Inventor Adam Butler demonstrates how the DipStick works:

Over 10,000 DipStick units have been sold, and it's stocked in Co-op and Canadian Tire stores across Western Canada, as well as stores in the United States.