When you picture an inventor and innovator, it’s often a white cloaked man with sporadic tuffs of hair, a melding of Doc from Back to The Future and Einstein in his prime. Not to dismiss the achievements of such innovative legends (Rick and Morty is more of a gift than the Delorean – let’s be real) but the modern inventor is anything but the stuffy old guy. In a time of Elon Musk fan boys and entrepreneurial obsessees it’s programs like the James Dyson Award that foster designs that solve real world conundrums. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these five past contestants and marvel at how not-so far-fetched they are. No flying cars though, sorry.
“There is normally a better solution to a problem. Engineers challenge convention and have brilliant ideas; The James Dyson Award looks for remarkable yet simple designs with the potential to have a huge impact on society. Each year I am amazed by the ideas and I look forward to seeing this year’s raft of entries” said Dyson.
#1 Katherine Kawecki
Inspired by her own asthma, Katherine sought to create a better management experience for sufferers like herself. The Respia was born beyond her own need, with 250,000 people dying each year prematurely from asthma with almost all of these deaths avoidable. A smart inhaler that utilises bluetooth, wearable device and smartphone app work in tandem to analyse symptoms and administrate both preventive and relief medication as needed. The patch sitting like a stethoscope on the skin can tell the difference between a wheeze and an external noise, keeping the sufferer informed and offering individualised treatment. Helping others quite literally breath easier. Read more about the design here.
#2 Shan Shan Wang
Shan Shan is no regular 25 year old; after winning the national portion of the James Dyson Award and finding herself listed in the top 10 for the international leg in 2013, Roam has taken off. A lightweight oxygen cylinder for kids seeking to revolutionise oxygen delivery and offer better quality of life for the chronically ill.
“Think of it as a portable oxygen factory at the palm of your hand… entering the Award also was a big eye opener into the real life and the ‘real’ world, I was no longer just a student, and had to start thinking that way” commented Shan Shan.
Beyond the James Dyson Award, Shan Shan collected a number of international accolades and has now set up Roam Technologies on home soil in Sydney. Roam is currently undergoing design tweaks before taking the product to market, but expect big things for the savvy inventor and the users of the indispensable device.
#3 Alex Goad
We all know the Great Barrier Reef is in a bad way making Alex Goad’s innovative MARS even more relevant as the reef continues to be ravaged. Beyond just taking the glorious coral from our tourism reels, the reef’s demise is set to destabilise the surrounding animals and ecosystem that call the reef home. Enter MARS, an affordable, easily deployed modular artificial reef structure that offers habitat for those animals and organisms affected by the lack of coral. It’s design feature includes indentations that give the first inhabitants protection from predatory fish, think the anemone in Finding Nemo. Alex entered in 2014 and took home the graduate prize for his novel design. You can read more about the MARS design here.
#4 Ardhiat Somjee
Taking inspiration from his own injury recovery, Ardhiat designed the next gen foam roller – the Waveblade. At it’s very essence the Waveblade is designed to improve circulation (blood vessels and lymph) through the wave patterns unique tissue manipulation; which improves the flow of oxygenated blood. This manipulation works to remove lactic acid, improve posture, adjust muscle tone and relief pain in tender and tight muscles. Having entered in 2016, the Waveblade is the product of four years research and design, but the team have already smashed their Kickstarter goal and you’ll likely be rolling post workout with their novel design.
#5 David Chapman
Taking home the People’s Choice Award in 2016, David Chapman’s wondrous extraction tool designed to unlock the naturally occurring properties found in household plants. ‘Essence’ works to preserve food, defend against insects through air oxidisers and fragrances and via it’s incorporated self watering ‘Essence” is totally self sufficient. Fret no more about your plants dying through lack of nurture. Enjoy fresh produce, chemical free and stress free. Chapman sure is on to a winner, you can read more about the ingenuity here.
Think you have what it takes to change the world and solve real world issues with your blueprint? Enter the James Dyson Award and you could win $49,000 AUD in prize money and $8,000 for your university if you take home the international award. While Australia has never taken home the top gong, the regional entries as you can see above are stiff competition for the other 22 countries on board.
And with $3,250 still up for grabs, not to mention international recognition of your design if you’re the regional winner, it’s time to put that pencil to paper or stanley knife to cardboard. Entries are open now and close July 20th 2017, visit the website here for more info.
Image source: James Dyson Award, LinkedIn.