Odds and quads

These are among the items in The Cabinet of Things used by Falmouth University's Academy for Innovation and Research as tools for stimulating creativity, particularly during "sandpit" problem-solving workshops for businesses.

December 20, 2012

The objects were donated by staff and clients, sandpit facilitators and workshop participants. Each has been given a description and a Quick Response code so that people can scan them with their mobiles to learn more.

The metal ring, for example, came from a First World War German submarine and was found on a rocky coastline by Jeremy Richards, the college's head of innovation. It was only when he soaked it in vinegar and scrubbed it clean that he found it wasn't just a piece of rusty iron.

The parking meter mechanism was picked up on a London street in the mid-1990s by events communications coordinator Kate Thomas and attests to the vulnerability to vandalism of coin-fed meters.

"The use of physical objects to stimulate lateral thinking is a well-known technique," Dr Richards said. The objects form the core of a rapidly expanding collection.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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