James Dyson Award 2017: top 20 shortlist announced
Here are the 20 ideas in with a chance of being chosen as the international winner 2017
The final round of the James Dyson Award is underway. Over 1,000 entries from 23 countries have been whittled down to
just 20, from which James Dyson will pick the international winner. The prize at stake: NZD$55,000
From expandable children’s clothing that can fit children from 6 to 36 months, to a blood sampling device that prevents
hospital staff from missing their mark, to smart motorcycle helmets that contact the emergency services in the event of
a crash: competition for the top spot is fierce among this year’s shortlisted projects. You can review the full
These 20 projects were selected from among the national winners and runners up from 23 countries by a panel of
experienced Dyson engineers. George Oram, senior design engineer, said: “Judging the top 20 projects in the James Dyson Award is an intense and exciting experience. Discussing the innovative
ideas, concepts and products that individuals and teams from around the world have created with my fellow judges leads
to fascinating debates about the feasibility of the idea or technology, its practicality and the problem it is trying to
solve. It was great to see such a diverse set of entries this year – judging was extremely difficult!”
The international winner and runners up, as chosen by James, will be announced on 26 October.
Australia: Utility Barrow.
Lachlan Meadows and Hugh McKay from Swinburne University of Technology
Problem: Floods are the most frequent of natural disasters, destroying homes and infrastructure, leaving people without access
to basic services such as clean water, food and healthcare. 94 million people around the world are affected by floods
every year and over the last 20 years, 157,000 have died.
Solution: By analysing the anthropometrics of the human figure and using computer 3D modelling, Utility Barrow has been designed
to hold a person afloat and row them to safety. A heavy wheel at the front balanced with the weight of a person at the
back, enables level buoyancy and stability when on the water.
Ryan Yasin from Royal College of Art
Problem: The cost of clothing has major impacts on both the environment and household spending – with children’s clothing a
particular problem. Children grow seven sizes in their first two years, and on an average, parents spend over £2,000 on
clothing before their child reaches the age of three. But cost is just part of the problem: mass production of garments
has huge consequences for the environment. Waste, water consumption and carbon emissions all place pressures on the
Solution: Petit Pli clothing uses a negative Poisson ratio to allow the same garments to simultaneously custom fit children from
four to 36 months.
Canada: The Skan.
Michael Takla, Rotimi Fadiya, Shivad Bhavsar, Prateek Mathur from McMaster University
Problem: Melanoma is harmless if detected early. Research from clinics in the U.S shows that only about 1/50 skin biopsies are
cancerous. Current diagnosis methods are a purely qualitative, based only on visual inspection.
Solution: The sKan is a melanoma thermal mapping machine. Research indicates a detectable difference between the temperature of
healthy skin and melanoma during periods of thermal recovery. The sKan provides a quantitative measurement to improve
the current forms testing, helping to detect melanoma early.
Canada: Avro Life Science.
Shakir Lakhani and Keean Sarani from University of Waterloo
Problem: Over 25m children suffer from seasonal allergies across North America and ¼ of them suffer from dysphagia, or the
inability to swallow pills as children. The biggest problem for children who must take medicine is compliance; no matter
how small the pill, kids won't take it if they don't want to.
Solution: Avro is developing transdermal drug delivery systems for the delivery of desloratadine (DSL) to the bloodstream. This is
made up of a novel polymer matrix in which DSL is contained, gradually delivered by passive diffusion out of the patch
and into the skin and ultimately the bloodstream, over the course of a day. The patent-pending biopolymer matrix carries
the drug, and controls the release rate of the drug.
Hao Tianshu, Chen Xingcan and Huang Shilongfrom Tongji University
Problem: Patch boards require a high level of force and grip to remove a plug, which can present challenges to some people,
including the elderly and disabled.
Solution: Push allows users to turn the circuit on by pushing the plug down and then to turn it off, users simply need to push the
plug down again. The Push patch board simplifies the whole procedure and improves safety. Those who may struggle with using traditional patch
boards, would find Push very easy, no longer needing to use two hands to remove the plug - as all you need to do is press down.
Tina Zimmer from Ecosign Köln Germany
Problem: Although vein-puncture is the most common medical procedure in the world, 33% of vein-puncture attempts fail at the
first attempt. The risk of an infection and complication increases with every further attempt. Every abortive attempt
prolongates the therapy and increases the cost, along with the pain and stress levels of both patient and medical staff.
Solution: Twistlight uses LED lights in a diagnostically relevant way to guide it clearly into the tissue. It makes veins appear
highly contrasted within its surrounding dermal tissue. The device can be used single handed, therefore the other hand
can be used to undo the vein strap, tension the skin and fix the catheter in place when pulling out the steel stylet.
The device incorporates an integrated catheter feed and catheter guidance. The device is battery-powered and therefore
can be used in hospitals, offices and out in the field, with the emergency services.
Sandesh Manik from Manipal Institute of Technology
Problem: Traditional methods for transferring patients to hospital beds is painful for patients, but also in the long-term can be
damaging to staff – lifting people is physically demanding on the spine.
Solution: Maattam is a patient transfer mechanism, which works by moving a patient from one bed to another on a conveyor belt like
mechanism. It can be fitted to any wheeled stretcher and can both collect and transfer patients to/from beds. By moving
underneath the body of the patient, the conveyor belt lifts the patient and transfers him/her over smoothly without the
need for any human contact.
Rishabh Babeley, Jagjeet Shyamkunwar and Vikram Kumar Jha from IIT BHU Varanasi
Problem: Every year,1.25m people are killed on roads around the world, half of which are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and
cyclists. Wearing a motorcycle helmet correctly can reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of severe injury
by over 70%.
Solution: There are two modules in the product, one is in helmet and the second module is fitted onto the motorcycle.
The helmet gets switched on by putting the strap and the sensor inside the helmet, which detects the presence of a
human. This ensures that the driver is wearing a helmet before sending a signal wirelessly to the motorcycle to turn on.
Accelerometer and crash sensors detect accidents and send information to nearby emergency sevices, indicating them of
the crash location. The helmet has been designed to allow for maximum air flow to reduce perspiration and itching which
is prominent in humid conditions. Bluetooth encryption is also being used, reducing the likelihood of the helmet getting
India: Ecofriendly Faucet.
Asish Mohandas from Manipal Institute of Technology
Problem: With water scarcity problems all over the world, inventions to save water are in dire need. The way that waster is used
in households is extremely wasteful.
Solution: In conventional faucets, most of the water never touches the surface to be cleaned and just flows down the drain.
Atomization of water is the process of breaking down a continuous flow of water into tiny droplets, traveling at a high
velocity. This makes it ideal for cleaning, as the droplets have an increased surface area and velocity. Eco Friendly
Faucet incorporates this principle, making it sustainable. It uses atomizers to spray water at a common point,
effectively cleaning that area with different strike angles, making it very efficient to remove dirt without taking too
much time and using too much water.
Gabriele Natale from Politecnico Milano
Problem: Current high-performance 3D printing tools waste large amounts of material.
Solution: Atropos is a 6-axis robotic arm, able to print 3D objects, by starting from a CAD file. Atropos uses continuous fiber
composites material, to produce high-performance objects. Fibers are saturated, while a numerically-controlled machine
is able to deposit them in a precise and repeatable way.
Xiaojun Sun, Fumihito Sugai and Shoichi Sato from University of Tokyo
Problem: Current prosthetic legs are passive and cannot provide power to support the weight of the user when extending or bending
the knees, going up and down stairs, standing up or changing walking speed.
Solution: A lightweight and compact robotic prosthetic knee with electrical assisted function has been built by fusing robotics
and the biometrics of the human body. It can provide power to assist extending, bending and swinging the knee, standing
up, and possibly going up and down stairs without assistance, to help improve the user’s mobility.
Satoshi Hashizume, Kazuki Takazawa and Ippei Suzuki from University of Tsukuba
Problem: Wheelchairs are an important tool for mobility, but the operation side of the wheelchair has not changed for more than a
century. Either the user controls the chair on his/her own or a care giver stands behind the wheelchair to support the
user. Many issues arise when the elderly cannot control the chair on their own anymore, increasing the possibility of
crashing into something.
Solution: Telewheelchair, an electric wheelchair system, combining remote control, obstacle detection, and environmental
recognition technologies, with use of VR (Virtual Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence). The wheelchair has
360-degree vision and is able to map out and detect the environment.
Mizuhito Terashima, Yuto Kamiwaki, Ao Tomita and Juan Padron from Nagaoka University of Technology
Problem: On days where there is snow or ice, using bicycles and motorcycles in snowy regions is useless, thus leaving cars as the
only option for transportation. However, the high concentration of cars and low speed regulations lead to heavy traffic,
doubling the time needed to reach one's destination. For these reasons, getting around on such days are troublesome.
Solution: Our crawler track unit-powered skateboard "Cuboard" is a new personal transportation device, which makes it possible to
run on sidewalks covered with snow. Cuboard has the advantage of not only offering excellent performance on icy roads,
but on many types of tough terrain, such as sand and gravel, as well as on normal terrain, making it a portable
transportation option that adapts to almost any environment.
Malaysia: Pumeca Pump.
Izzat Mohtar frpm International Islamic University of Malaysia
Problem: Paddy-field farming is the dominant form of growing rice in Asian countries. There are more than 133,000 people in
Malaysia working as paddy farmers and 89.1 % plant paddies in areas less than two hectare. Many farmers face problems
with supplying water to their paddy fields, particularly through seasons where there is drought. Heavily reliant on rain
and water reservoirs, farmers struggle to keep their crops watered. Conventional water pumps are expensive, and due to
their heavy weight and the need of having more than one person to operate, they are extremely unpractical.
Solution: Pumeca Pump is a simple water pump that runs on rotation of a rear motorcycle wheel. As the rear wheel rotates, a
roller from the device which is intact with the wheel also rotates, supplying a mechanical energy to run the pump. The
pump gains power to suck water from the reservoir and channel it to the paddy field – a cost effective and practical
Malaysia: Auxilary driving aid for drivers with limited lower mobility.
Chun Yeen Chu from University of Nottingham, Malaysian campus.
Problem: Current driving aids for those with lower limb disabilities are extremely limited. Driving is a convenience,
particularly to carry out errands, and in developing countries, most public transportation options are yet to offer
Solution: A portable driving aid, which can be used across any vehicle intended through a plug-and-play solution. The auxiliary
driving aid is wireless, therefore no wires are needed, it is 3D printed and therefore lightweight, and uses pressure
sensors on the steering levers so that the harder you squeeze, the more pressure the floor pedals place on the
Naomi Stieger and Dimitri Gester from Zurich University of the Arts
Problem: Controllers for drones equipped with a camera aren’t intuitive to handle. Although model aircrafts and drones have
different flight possibilities, they are controlled with the same classical radio controllers. These controllers occupy
both hands when flying the drone, meaning there is no free hand to control the camera, even though predominantly, the
main point of flying a drone is to catch camera footage.
Solution: KEA combines dynamic flight and the control over the image section in one controller. For this reason KEA is more
intuitive, efficient and economic. Shifting one joystick to the back of the controller simplifies the handling of the
controller. The design, which is similar to a SLR camera, offers a familiar handling for the photographer and is more
ergonomic than a common drone controller. Because KEA is smaller and more compact than others it can be carried easily
during any trip.
Hiroyuki Morita from ECAL Switzerland
Problem: Vacuum cleaners are noisy. About 70% of users can only use a vacuum cleaner on the weekend, because of the noise
(particularly for house sharers). Rechargeable ones are often forgotten to be recharged, however, more than 80% of
people use these for vacuuming.
Solution: OMIT is a non-electric vacuum cleaner. It does not have the same power as a general vacuum cleaner, but it works
silently and is handy. It can be used during any time of the day and in any place without electric supply.
Viola Wyss and Christina Fiechter from HNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Problem: Bad sight and communication increase the threat that fire fighters face, as well as for those who are needing to be
saved. Fire fighters currently use two different helmets, depending on fire or technical operations.
Solution: Senco is a lightweight helmet that can be worn for any operation. Due to the inner structure of the shell, stability
and sturdiness can be ensured with less material, which results in a lighter helmet. It incorporates a modular augmented
reality system, so sight and communication is optimized for everyone, whilst enabling hands-free handling. The helmet
increases operational efficiency, which reduces the operation time and therefore improves the general safety for both
fire fighters and people who are seeking help.
Charles Keppler and Serena Omo-Lamai from Syracuse University
Problem: Hundreds of millions of microfibers are released every day from washing synthetic clothing, and these microscopic
plastic fibers are polluting our oceans. They poison and starve marine life, and then make their way into our food chain
via seafood consumption. Farmers can use fish meal to feed livestock or fertilize crops with sewage. Up to 70% of
textiles produced are unregulated synthetics, and many of the 8,000 different chemicals used are known to cause hormonal
imbalances, infertility, and cancer--- symptoms marine life is already experiencing.
Solution: Fibrefree is a laundry ball that has been shown to catch up to 40% of released microfibers in a load of laundry. It
does so thanks to a porous shell, which allows the free flow of water through the shell and filter. The filter is a
dense network of interlaced strands that entangle and lodge microfibers within, and is designed to work independent of
how the water is moving. After a few washes the filter can be easily replaced and recycled. Fibrefree follows all your
clothes through the normal laundering process. The shell effectively acts as a laundry ball. In the washer, it gently
agitates the clothes to clean them more effectively. In the dryer, Fibrefree fluffs clothes to make them softer, as well
as increasing air circulation to reduce drying time and improve energy efficiency. One or two additional Fibrefree can
be added to increase the effectiveness.
Taiwan: Epidemic Prevention.
Lo Chia Yi, Chen Chieh Yu, Chai Jin Dian and Lan Yue Siou from Ming Shi University of Technology
Problem: To most people, the Zika virus infection is not harmful. For women during pregnancy, it could cause birth defects –
microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. In the less developed countries, the Zika test is costly and not easily
accessible. Late diagnosis can lead to a virus outbreak.
Solution: Epidemic Prevention is a quick test method to detect Zika virus using a test paper. By using urinalysis, the test paper
can detect the virus by turning red. If it turns blue, then the test is negative. Following its use, the test paper can
then dissolve and release natural insecticide made from neem extracts to prevent vector breeding. The neem residue is
used as the raw material for test paper, maximising the use of resources.
James Dyson Award
The James Dyson Award
runs in 23 countries. The contest is open to university level students (and recent graduates) studying product design,
industrial design and engineering.
The award encourages ideas that challenge convention, lean engineering – less is more, and design with the environment
in mind. The best inventions are simple and practical yet provide a solution to a real world problem. A national winner
is selected for every country the award runs in, before going through to the final phase where the international winner
is chosen by James Dyson.
The award is run by the James Dyson Foundation, a registered charity set up in 2002 which exists to inspire and support
the next generation of engineers.
What is the prize?
• The international prize is NZD$55,0001
for the student andNZD$9,000
for the student’s university department.
Up to two International Runners-up:
• NZD$9,000 each*
• NZD$3,500 each**
What is the competition timeline?
• Opens: 30 March 2017
• Close: 20 July 2017
• National winners and finalists announced: 7 September 2017
• Dyson engineers’ shortlist: 28 September 2017
• International winner and finalists announced: 26 October 2017
Who can enter the James Dyson Award?
Any university level student of product design, industrial design or engineering,or graduate within four years of
graduation, who is studying or studied in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India,
Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland,
Taiwan, the UK and the USA.
For more information and regular updates on the progress of the James Dyson Award, follow the James Dyson Foundation on Facebook
. Entries can be made by visiting the James Dyson Award website here
Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology
• The first cohort of Dyson Undergraduate Engineers will arrive on the Dyson campus in September 2017 to begin four
years of employment and study with the Dyson Institute. This is Dyson’s first step to attaining degree-awarding powers
and university status.
• More than a degree, more than a university: undergraduate engineers will gain hands-on experience from day one as part
of the Global Engineering team and academic rigour through their degree course.
• 33% of the offer holders are female compared to 16% of all UK engineering students and 9% of all UK engineers.
James Dyson said, “The UK’s skills shortage is holding Dyson back as we look to increase the amount of technology we
develop and export from the UK. We are taking matters into our own hands. The new degree course offers academic theory,
a real-world job and salary, and access to experts in their field.”