EWAN Gibson doesn't have to worry about losing any of his favourite toys - he has them all safely locked up, thanks to the electronic genius of his dad.

The four-year-old from Elderslie is the owner of a biometric toy box that would be the envy of any 007 fan as it only opens when he scans his finger across the lid.

His dad Grant's magic touch, tinkering with toys to invent new uses for them, is now the envy of the teccy world and has featured on YouTube and in the American edition of Popular Science magazine.

"I had done a few wee projects, then made the toy box for Ewan," explains Grant, who works as a digital innovation manager with The Herald and Evening Times digital division.

"I stuck it on YouTube as a bit of fun, just saying, here's a thing I made.

"That was on the Friday, the following week I got a phone call from New York and it was Mac Irvine from Popular Science magazine.

"He'd seen the video on YouTube and wanted to feature it in the December issue of the magazine."

To make the toy box, Grant found all the equipment he needed online: the fingerprint scanner came from Hong Kong, the electronics board from Italy, some parts are from France and the box from Poland. It was all inspired by Apple's new finger-scanning iPhone.

It took about three days and £75 to make and Grant has already been asked by friends to make more.

"Some have suggested I should make it commercially but I'm not into that, I just like doing it for fun," he says. "Maybe some day I'll make something everybody wants and I'll consider turning it into a product to sell."

In the meantime he has been busy tinkering away with new inventions, including a light stick that creates images.

"It's a two-metre high metal pole and it's full of little coloured LED lights," he explains.

"They're not random, they flash in a pattern. The idea is that when you swoosh it across the air there's a persistence of vision effect.

"Whatever images I want to show, I load onto the disc in the pole, then you swing it across the air and as you swing it, it draws each of the lines that make up the image."

He has created giant images from the Street Fighter video game that float in the air and used the technology to create his company's Christmas card.

A computer science graduate from Glasgow Caledonian University, Grant says it has just been in the recent years he has become interested in electronics. His first idea was to modify the doorbell at home so that when someone presses it, a text message is sent to Grant or his wife Tara to say there's someone at the door.

Next came an alarm clock, cannibalised from a £3 Space Invaders toy, that runs across the table when Grant gets an email.

Ewan has had more fun with a self-driving remote-control car.

"That was fun, it was just a normal remote-control car you buy in the shop," says Grant. "I did a bit of electronic work and now, with a webcam and a laptop, you draw on the screen where you want it to go and then the camera watches where the car is going and drives it around.

"Ewan likes watching the remote-control car driving about itself and sometimes has a go at deciding where it should go but he likes crashing it into kitchen cupboards."

Grant says he first wanted to make something you wouldn't normally find in the shops.

"I look at the really cheap toys and think, what could I do with that? What can I find that's in the bargain bucket that's unloved and nobody wants and what could you do with it?"