The inventor behind a revolutionary idea has won thousands of pounds to bring it into the shops.

Stephen Britt, a technician at the University of Brighton, has designed a system which uses pedal power to transformcycles into electric bikes.

It enables riders to move quicker and easier up hills.

He built a prototype and entered it into Barclays’ Take One Small Step competition.

He has been handed £50,000 to develop his idea after winning a public vote.

The 40-year-old, who works at the School of Education at Falmer, has set up a company called Fast Forward and hopes to bring the product to the market by this time next year.

Mr Britt, who has an HND in electrical engineering and a degree in computer science, said: “It is a fairly basic prototype at the moment, which shows promise and proves that it works. But it’s nothing that can be shown to the public yet.”

There are similar batterypowered bicycle systems on the market but most require a high degree of technical knowledge to install.

The vast majority also attach to the front wheel – meaning they can only operate in one gear and riders often have to buy a brand new wheel.

Mr Britt’s invention only requires people to replace their pedals and can be installed in only 15 minutes.

The system can propel a bike for ten miles before the batteries need recharging.

Mr Britt’s invention has also won the University of Brighton’s student and graduate innovation award.

He has since received support and advice fromthe university’s enterprise team which helps students, alumni and staff to develop business ideas.

Enterprise manager Clare Griffiths said: “This is fantastic news for Stephen and the university.

“The university takes great satisfaction from nurturing enterprising ideas which begin in the university and make their way out into the commercial world.”

Mr Britt, from Herstmonceux, plans to spend every penny of the £50,000 on his invention.

He said: “While it looks to my neighbours that I’m quite well off I will actually be quite poor – for now at least.

“But I am incredibly excited about the future. In the next five years I would like to see Fast Forward’s pedals get a lot more people cycling. I want to create a strong business trading in many countries and supporting a large workforce.”

David Onto, head of Barclays Business in the South East, said Mr Britt received 31,000 public votes, 25,000 more than his nearest rival.

He said: “All three finalists in the South East had strong business ideas and Stephen has done well to demonstrate the businessXfactor and gain huge support from the public to vote for him.

“His product idea is simple and effective and once the product comes to market many more people will use their bikes instead of their cars, which can only be good.

“I’d like to wish Stephen good luck and hope this competition is a springboard for long-term success.”