Testhornet – an award winning invention

Testhornet’s Inventor fights fires for a living

My name is Anders Hansson and I work as a firefighter and I created Testhornet. I started working in 1983 with Fire Prevention Services in Ystad, in the south of Sweden, and I have never regretted my career choice. I am currently working for Räddningstjänsten Syd (Fire & Rescue Services for the South). I came up with the idea of Testhornet in 2009 when I was testing my own smoke-alarm. As a fire fighter I talk to people every day about the importance of smoke-alarms in helping to prevent a tragedy. Well, you have to practice what you preach and it was time to test my own smoke-alarm at home.

I live in a regular house and despite my 1.80m height I was unable reach the test button on the alarm. “Lazy like everybody else” I started looking around for something to push the button with… I wouldn’t use a chair to stand on! I found our shoehorn and I tried it and… it didn’t work! But the idea was born and in the evening I made the first prototype with a little Plastic Padding and an M8 bolt. Had I known that I would go on to win the prize for Årets Smarta Sak 2011 (Smartest Gadget 2011), everything would have been easier already!

The idea and many prototypes

I could not let go of my idea and after making a couple of prototypes, I finally had one that looked after my own smoke-alarms. I called a couple of manufacturers and investigated how much it would cost to produce, but decided quite quickly that this would not be possible. But still, I could not let go of my idea. I bought every smoke-alarm I found, I continued pondering, and reworking my idea, and began to fully investigate the market. Finally, I got my “shoehorn” to test the majority of the market’s most common smoke-alarms. Generally, we are all bad at testing our smoke-alarms, I knew that. A great many people need to use shoe horns, I knew that too… But getting the finance to get my project started? I did not know about that!

2 years later, a prototype and the journey begins

After many conversations, much research and a lot of sleepless nights, I finally came into contact with Johan, an Innovation Adviser at ALMI Företagspartner Skåne AB. He opened up a “new world” for me as to how I could move on with my idea. I sought and received an innovation grant, to produce a prototype in the scale 1:1. It was produced in collaboration with a manufacturing consultant to ensure that it would be viable for production. With this prototype, I could now go and show my invention to the world and see if there was any interest. There was! And this was where the real trip began! Many miles in the car, lots of phone calls, design and trademark registrations, a website and lots of emails… I finally ordered the required production and manufacturing tools in spring 2011.

Swedish production of high quality, recyclable ABS-plastic

By August, the manufacturing was ready and in place in Småland, more specifically in Väckelsång. That I have my production in Sweden is no coincidence! Here, I know that the production is of the highest quality and environmentally certified according to SS-EN ISO 14001 and SS-EN ISO 9001.

Årets Smarta Sak 2011 and Genius Award Winner 2014 and the best innovative profile product at PSI Messe Düsseldorf

Testhornet has become a very popular giveaway for Fire & Rescue Services, Fire Prevention Services, Fire Protection Associations, Insurance Companies, Real Estate Companies, and much more. I am represented in several countries and more are interested or have shown interest. I could never in my wildest imagination have believed this when I first organised the meeting with ALMI 6 years ago in Malmö.

It is with great satisfaction that I look back on my journey so far, what a trip it has been!
I’m so happy I can make a real difference to the world and look humbly forward to what’s coming.