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The dolphin-inspired boat designed by New Zealander Rob Innes has been named by Time magazine as one of the world's best new inventions.

Mr Innes says he put years of time and money into Sea Breacher, a two-seater boat that can dive, jump and play like a dolphin.

The invention made one of eight spots in the transport category on the 2006 Time magazine best invention list.

Other shortlisted inventions in the same category included a toy car powered by tap water and a solar-powered boat capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean. A bed that floats in the air using magnets was one of the more wacky items in the household category, along with a hypo-allergenic cat and a wine-tasting robot. The overall winner was YouTube, the video website phenomenon.

Time magazine describes the Sea Breacher as "Flipper's Funny Friend". Mr Innes, co-owner of the company Innespace, which produced the craft, now lives in California. "Its fantastic to finally be recognised," he said.

Mr Innes' father, John, who lives in Auckland, says the family is very proud of the design.

"We think it is fantastic, he has done very well," he said.

"It's another case of great Kiwi ingenuity."

The Sea Breacher can travel at 48km/h , powered by a 175hp engine. It is a newer version of their original one-seater dolphin-shaped boat, Sweet Virgin Angel, which was built in 2001.

There are no plans to produce the $105,000 craft for the mass-market yet; the company prefers to keep them for exhibitions and racing.

"This has really been a lot of fun, and now we are finally starting to see results," he said.