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Inventing proves therapeutic for Bendigo teacher

2012.07.17. 02:43 Aurora1

A BENDIGO singing teacher is putting a fresh twist on the humble wheat bag.

Kerry Lorenz is the brains behind MyOki – the anywhere, anytime, wearable heat scarf.

It’s taken four years for Ms Lorenz’s idea to come to fruition but she’s now launched a website for MyOki and is busy selling the octopus-inspired heating device.

Ms Lorenz hopes to one day break into the Japanese market but, before she goes global, she plans to win over the judges of this year’s Bendigo Inventor Awards.

Ms Lorenz said she never planned on being an inventor – it happened by chance.

“I was having a party and I needed my wheat bag for a friend who had a bad back,” she said.

“So I lent him my wheat bag and he stuck it down the back of his trousers so he could still move around and socialise.

“But it had sprung a leak so the next day there was wheat everywhere.

“So from there I just kept thinking ‘somebody’s got to make a wheat bag that’s transportable, more versatile’.

“You can buy different ones but they’re very therapeutic looking – you’ve got to get one for your shoulders and a separate one for your lower back and so on.

“So the idea began.”

The design phase included a 3am brainstorming session with dinner plates and saucers.

“I needed it to wrap around the body naturally and the arm of an octopus just came to me one morning,” Ms

Lorenz said.

“The circles and the way an octopus attaches itself to its environment – it just moves with the suckers naturally.

“So that was the idea and then I thought, ‘oh well, it’s got to be circles’, so I just drew circles until I thought eventually ‘it’s got to be a chain of circles’.

“Then I went up to Spotlight and bought some fur and made a few of them.”

Ms Lorenz then took her idea to the next level by making contact with an agent in Sydney.

“She worked with me to find a manufacturer in China,” she said.

“To get them made in Australia was going to cost a phenomenal amount of money so they did everything for me.”

The finished product is now available at www.myoki.net

The furry, black heat scarf comes in its own carry bag and can be worn over the shoulder, around the neck or tied around the waist.

“Normally a wheat bag would just sit but this moulds naturally to the body and you tie it,” Ms Lorenz said.

“So it’s really a wheat bag but it’s just gone a bit fancy.

“I wanted to make it look fashionable.

“I’ve worn it out at night and had people say, ‘Oh, I love your scarf’, and touch and then say, ‘Oh, it’s warm!’

n Have you entered the Bendigo Inventor Awards?

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