Tree Harvesting Invention Named New Zealand Winner
of the James Dyson Award
A tree harvesting device has won the New Zealand leg of the twelfth annual James Dyson Award, a product design
Current harvesting methods require return visits to a forest, causing soil erosion and damage to surrounding trees. Nick
Ross, an industrial design graduate from Massey University, has devised a solution that cuts trees right from ground
level, and feeds them straight into the machine. An extraction process is then engaged to return needles back to the
soil for nutrients, while the branches gathered in a separate container can be re-used as an alternative energy fuel.
The judges were unanimous in their decision. David Lovegrove, member of the Designers Institute and the award’s head
judge added: ““This design is the best research project we’ve seen from the New Zealand entries because Nick has not
only produced a beautiful, well resolved design, but he has gone a step further and widely engaged with the
international forestry industry.
“He didn’t set out to design a tree harvester. He approached the design with the simple question, how do you grow trees
better? So we were encouraged to see sustainability was a core motivation in the product’s development, and during the
design process,” said David.
Nick will travel to the UK with $3,000 traveling expenses and accommodation courtesy of British Council New Zealand, and
meet with other key members of the UK design community. Plus, he can select an official fee prize package from the
Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) tailored to his design’s intellectual property needs, receive $3,000
worth of legal advice from Farry.Co Law, a Dyson handheld cleaner and a year’s membership to the Designer’s Institute.
Axolotyl will progress to compete against designs from the 18 other participating countries in the James Dyson Award.
The international winner will be selected by James Dyson and announced on 8th November 2012.
All entries can be viewed on www.jamesdysonaward.org
Problem: Current harvesting methods in forestry require heavy vehicles to make return visits to a forest, causing soil compaction
and damage to surrounding trees.
Solution: Axolotyl is a tree harvesting machine designed to will cut and separate tree trunks, branches and needles on site, and return the
tree’s nutrients to the ground for natural regeneration.
Problem: Hearing aid users are often unable to participate in water activities, in which water could enter their inner ear
through grommets, as it can cause infection.
Solution: Pressure AID is a waterproof ear device for the hearing impaired, which aims to improve sound and give children and adults an
opportunity to enter the water and enjoy swimming and other water sport. The device is designed to be worn inside the
ear: when the ear is submerged a bubble of air inside the device is compressed, creating a water-tight seal in the ear
canal, preventing water from entering the canal.
“Because the device is worn just inside the ear like small headphones, they don’t look like conventional hearing aids
which aren’t discreet. As a kid, I was bullied for wearing the old fashioned aids, so in the end I chose not to wear
them and make-do with limited sound,” says its designer Nick Marks, a 23 year old design student from Torbay, Auckland.
Of the Massey University graduate’s entry, David says this idea could improve people’s lives.
“His design could also break down the stigma of wearing hearing aids due to its decorative effect and aesthetic appeal.
The product will appeal not only to older adults who could wear the device in the shower, but for children prone to ear
Problem: With little or no safety equipment available to free divers, shallow-water blackout is something that can happen to even
the most experienced divers and can occur without warning, and in worst case scenarios, lead to drowning.
Solution: Revival Vest uses smart fabric technology to monitor the breathing patterns of the diver to assess whether they are in
danger of drowning. If the user blacks out, the life vest is triggered to inflate and bring the diver to the surface in
an upright safety position ready for resuscitation.
Its designer, 22 year old Victoria University graduate, James McNab of Tauranga, says his design was motivated by the
death of a friend from a shallow-water blackout during free diving.
David Lovegrove, member of the Designers Institute and the award’s head judge said the judges were excited by the vest’s
well resolved design, and its potential uses in other water sports.
Notes to editor:
The James Dyson Award
• James Dyson will announce the global winner on November 8th, 2012.
• The New Zealand winner of the James Dyson Award will receive £1000. The International James Dyson Award winner will
receive: £10,000 (for the student or the team) and £10,000 for the winner’s university department.
• Runners up for the overall James Dyson award will receive £2000 each.
• The award is open to any student of product design, industrial design or design engineering (or graduate within four
years of graduation) who is studying or studied in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Holland, Italy,
Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA..
• The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation, a registered charity with the aim of supporting design,
technology and engineering education, medical research charities and local community projects. The James Dyson
Foundation works with schools and universities around the UK and internationally.