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Russians Win at Inventors Fair

April 1, 1998

GENEVA (AP) _ Two Russian inventors won first prize for their portable soldering and metal-cutting tool Wednesday at Geneva’s annual invention fair.

A 55-member international panel selected Alexander Apunevich and Yevgeny Titarenko’s machine from more than 1,000 inventions on display.

The prize-winning device is attached to a water tank and weighs about 13 pounds. It cuts and solders at different temperatures and is capable of cutting through a quarter-inch of steel. Its chief virtues are ``safety, economy and ecological soundness,″ panel members said.

More than 600 inventors from 44 countries hoped to attract customers and potential business partners for their products at the fair, which opened Friday and runs through Sunday.

The inventions range from multi-million dollar industrial gear to quirky homemade gadgets. In all, 35 prizes were awarded in a variety of categories:

The United Nations handed out awards for the best invention from a developing country _ a water pump from Guinea _ and the best invention by a woman _ infrared glasses for the blind that give the wearer audible warnings of approaching obstacles.

Other new ideas honored included a type of grass intended to help cows produce better milk, and an emergency mouth-opening, tongue-holding device from Argentina to be used to help people having epileptic fits.

Last year’s top prize went to a South African-made machine that smashes rocks in mines and quarries and leaves only limited debris.

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