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I was born in Portrush, Ireland, and graduated with honours from Oxford School of Architecture, following which I specialised in human factors in engineering with Earl & Wright Consulting Engineers. I then abandoned office life, and worked variously as a saxophonist, opera singer, and circus acrobat, before moving into hostile-environments camerawork for the BBC, and later, travel documentaries that took me deep in the Amazon Rainforest and to the summit of Aconcagua. From there, a passion for the aesthetics of camera movement led me to become a Steadicam operator, filming, teaching, and lecturing around the world.
A growing dissatisfaction with the tools I had to work with spurred me to create my own, and have resulted in a range of inventions aimed at increasing human mobility and functionality.
The Steadiseg, co-invented with Ulrich Kahlert, is a mobile camera platform based on a Segway adapted for handsfree steering that allows camera operators to achieve new dimensions of mobility. Together, we founded Camerakinetics to manufacture and distribute Steadisegs worldwide.
The Steadicam Fawcett Exovest, currently manufactured and distributed by The Tiffen Company, is a lightweight semi-rigid exoskeletal support harness that conforms to natural human form and movement—male and female—by transferring the weight and torque of a Steadicam system to the user in such a way as to allow for greater comfort and manoeuvrability. Both Boeing and the US Navy have adopted Exovests for outsize tool support.
In 2014, Garrett Brown and I founded Exokinetics, and assembled a team of designers, engineers, and fabricators dedicated to tackling the problem of decreasing mobility in a wide range of people experiencing walking difficulties. The resulting Zeen Project is an entirely novel range of 'active' furniture aimed at encouraging and supporting continued movement and activity in those challenged by disease or infirmity. The Zeen is in an advanced stage of prototyping and testing, and is expected to begin shipping in 2021.
I was honoured to be invited to deliver the 2016 keynote speech to the Annual Meeting of the Patent and Trademark Office Society at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington D.C. You can watch a video of the presentaion, about inventing, below.