Britain is continually developing new ideas to stay at the forefront of technological advances. Watch the video to find out about how British innovation shapes the design and manufacture of some of the world’s most impressive products.


Task 1 - listening for detail

Watch the video from 00:00 until 03:09 minutes.

Task 2 - gap fill

Watch the video from 03:09 minutes to the end.

Type the missing word or number from the video.

Task 3 - comprehension


Did you know that Britain is a world leader when it comes to innovation? Some of the world's fastest cars, cleverest gadgets and even the technology inside this phone are made here. Britain is full of new ideas and cutting-edge technology and I'm hoping to see some of it.

The British love gadgets. And when it comes to innovators, James Dyson is world-class. He invented the bagless vacuum cleaner and this is his headquarters, where all the magic happens.

It took five years, over 5,000 prototypes and a lot of hard work and imagination to design Dyson’s Bagless Vacuum Cleaner.

Tom Crawford is a senior engineer.

Richard: How do Dyson push the boundaries of innovation and technology?

Tom: We employ over 650 engineers and scientists to look at every aspect of our machine. We develop our own motors. We have microbiologists, fluid experts, noise experts, to really optimise every aspect of the performance of these machines.

Richard: How do you meet the needs of the international market?

Tom: Well, we sell our machines in over 50 different countries, so we have a really good understanding of what they want and what they need and, for example, for Japan, we know that their rooms are much smaller and we design a product to suit their demands, which is much smaller than the European models.

Richard: Excellent. Can you show me round your latest technology?

Tom: Yeah, please.

Richard: Ah. I've used one of these before. Yeah, they're excellent.

Tom: Dyson Airblade is the fastest, most hygienic hand dryer. It uses a Dyson digital motor which rotates at over 5 times the speed of a Formula 1 engine. It pushes air out up to 400 miles an hour and dries your hands in under 10 seconds.

Richard: Awesome. What about this here?

Tom: OK. Experts in moving air. We've looked at the domestic fan and we've produced a bladeless fan which pulls air through the middle. It's very smooth, non-buffeting airflow and very safe.

Richard: That's excellent, isn't it? Ooh, it doubles up nicely as a hairdryer, too... How are you going to go into the future for Dyson?

Tom: Well, I can't tell you what our secrets are, obviously.

Richard: Go on!

Tom: No! But we've got a very exciting plan of products for the next 10 years, a plan of research for the next 20 years and we're also, obviously, looking to launch fantastically exciting products, like the new Dyson Digital Slim. Now this uses another Dyson digital motor, which is very lightweight and powerful.

Richard: No cord?

Tom: No cord. Cordless. Batteries. Have a go.

Richard: Got to. Got to have a go. Smooth. Loving that. Tell you what, Tom, thank you very much for showing me round. While I'm here, do you want me to just quickly... um...?

Tom: Yeah, just tidy up for us.

Richard: Feel free. No worries. Thank you. Cheers.

Tom: Thanks. OK.Here in Bristol, there’s a snake on the loose, but this is a snake with a difference. Behind me is a high-tech science facility at the cutting edge of British innovation… and the snake? Well, it’s a robot.

This is a snake-arm robot created by OC Robotics. The arm can be guided to places where people can’t or don’t want to go… so can be used where access is difficult or where there might be danger. It’s being used in the aerospace, medicine, security and nuclear industries.

Dr Rob Buckingham is the co-founder of OC Robotics.

Richard: Rob, what exactly is the snake-arm robot?

Rob: The snake-arm robot is a long, slender robot arm and it's designed to get into confined spaces where there's radiation, or underwater, or very small spaces.

Richard: So this would be perfect for space exploration?

Rob: We are talking to NASA about just that, so maintenance of satellites. There are now lots of satellites in space and also when it comes to going to Mars, again, it's all going to be robotised.

Richard: Tim, how exactly does this hub work?

Tim: So, it's really simple. A couple of monitors, one showing the on-board camera, one showing a virtual environment, a few computers controlling the system and then this games console controller.

Richard: All right, I've used one of these before. This should be very easy. What do I have to do? Just forward, backwards...?

Tim: Forwards, backwards, left, right with those, and we're good to go.

Richard: This isn't worrying you at all...?

Tim: No, absolutely, go ahead.

Richard: Just go for it. Easy-peasy. Is it supposed to do that? Do you like the way I moved to the right there? Look at that. Oh, look, we can see ourselves in the background.

Tim: So, that's from the on-board camera.

Richard: Hello, Mum!

Richard: Why do you think Britain leads the world when it comes to innovation?

Rob: Well, I think it's because we're brought up to be quite creative and we're not scared of a challenge, and that's a powerful combination.

Britain leads the way in high-tech innovations, including the high-profile world of Formula 1. Every part of a Formula 1 car has some input from Great Britain - from design to manufacture.

And now McLaren have taken their Formula 1 technologies and put them into their first high-performance, low-emissions sports car: the MP4-12C. 

They've even built a factory that the Prime Minister himself opened.

David Cameron: It gives me great pleasure to declare this incredible facility is open for business! Thank you very much indeed.

McLaren Manager: The opening of the McLaren production centre by the Prime Minister is something that is so special and such an honour for the whole team that's been involved in developing this car and developing this production centre.

The MP4-12C has an amazing innovation: the whole chassis is a carbon fibre composite. This leading design and production could pass down to even more affordable road cars.

Rolls-Royce has been a motoring icon for over 100 years, and this is its home. The historic Goodwood Estate, famous for its links with motor sports.

This impressive building is their headquarters and manufacturing plant. For the last decade, it's where they’ve been designing and making luxury cars.

Rolls-Royce is unique in the way it brings together technical innovation and traditional craftsmanship.

I’m here to test drive the latest addition of the Rolls-Royce family; it’s called the Ghost and it’s the most powerful car they’ve ever built.

Each Ghost goes through around 2,000 individual stages. It takes at least 20 days and around 60 people to create each car. There’s plenty of hidden technology and each one of these is hand-built to order.

Matt Smith is an apprentice.

Richard: So, Matt, what makes the Ghost so unique?

Matt: Well, the Ghost actually has our most powerful engine ever produced here at Rolls-Royce. It's a 6.6 litre V12 twin-turbo. We have a new suspension system that caters for cornering, acceleration, braking. We have a night vision system. We also have new sound systems within the car. We have active cruise control, and we also have a lane departure system. 

Richard: What makes Rolls-Royce so special?

Matt: It's the handcraftsmanship. It's how long each car takes to assemble. It's how much detail goes into every single part of the car and it's also just the feel that the car gives you as a customer.

Richard: So are you looking forward to helping design the next big car for Rolls-Royce?

Matt: Well, yeah, we always look to improve our cars on customer feedback, and I would love to be a part of that in the future.

Richard: Well, this is another dream come true, driving a Rolls-Royce Ghost. A quarter of a million pounds these things cost, and it is the height of luxury. The engine sounds really smooth and quiet and I'm really loving this.



  • Can you think of any other amazing inventions?
  • If so, what are they?
  • Where were they invented and who by?

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