Panels of tech experts, entrepreneurs and leading engineers reviewed, discussed and debated all the James Dyson Award entries to select a national winner and two runners up in each participating region, totalling 81 national finalists. These finalists have now been announced.
“The quality of entries was extremely impressive in this year’s James Dyson Award, and we knew we had found a great design when we all said, ‘I can’t believe this has not been invented yet.’ Ultimately, we selected finalists based on innovation and simplicity, combined with the impact it could have for people and the lives it will save. This is the best purpose of engineering - when it tangibly makes a difference for everyday tasks.” - Felicity Furey, Business leader and national judge for Australia
2020 national winners
Problem: Safety is one of the biggest obstacles for many people wanting to ride their bikes. In order to move towards more sustainable modes of transportation and micro-mobility, the issue of safety needs to be meaningfully addressed.
Solution: One way to ease cyclist fatalities and injuries is being more 'conspicuous'. The Project Flock bike light illuminates the moving legs of the cyclist using LED lights and biomotion lighting. Other road users will recognise the cyclist sooner because they see a human, not a flashing red light which is what existing bike lights only offer.
Problem: People suffering from sleep apnea have a tendency to relax the muscles in the throat during sleep. This is why the tongue slips backwards casuing the oxygen supply to the lungs to block. As a result, the heart and brain receive too little oxygen, which can cause considerable long-term damage.
Solution: The lune system is equipped with sensors that measure the angle of the head and breathing during a sleep period. If the tongue slides into the throat, electrodes start to stimulate the area. The swallowing sensation is then triggered. When swallowing, the tongue returns to its optimal position.
Problem: Sight is a human's most highly developed sense and plays a vital role in nearly all aspects of daily life. Today, an estimated 244 million people suffer from vision impairment for which no cure exists, and which generally situates itself at the retina. Given the scale and fragility of the retina, retinal surgery is already being performed at the limits of human physiologic performance.
Solution: Eye-robot - this breakthrough technology enables eye surgeons to perform surgery with superhuman precision. With this device, surgeons aspire to perform ground-breaking new procedures for currently untreatable blindness, including high-precision delivery of gene-therapy.
Problem: As a part of an entrepreneurship-based capstone collaboration at UBC, our team was tasked to approach the world around us to find a problem worth solving. Neonatal nurses we spoke with named IV infiltration, a complication in IV delivery where medical fluids leak into surrounding tissues, as a significant issue they face.
Solution: The Attentiv Catheter samples bioelectric properties at the catheter tip to monitor the site of IV delivery. Abnormal signals indicate IV infiltration, a common complication where IV fluid leaks into surrounding tissue, causing tissue damage if untreated.
Problem: A cochlear implant user said: "didi Di" was suddenly heard in his ear, and then the power was cut off, and the world was silent. Many medical devices in the existing market need continuous power supply, but the existing batteries are fast in power consumption, high in continuous cost and serious in environmental pollution caused by disposable batteries.
Solution: We made a product that can closely fit within the shoulder blade position of the back. By using temperature difference power generation, we can continuously power the cochlear implant through a short wire.
Problem: Tuli's invention arose from the observation we made when in discussion with women around us, and it emerged that no hygienic menstruation protection is really suitable for women. Many products are inconvenient, painful, irritating and composed of toxic products that are both harmful to health and the environment.
Solution: Tuli is a redesigned menstrual cup with no more complicated folding, introduction issues, cup deployment, withdrawal, leakage or pain. Tuli is also compatible with IUD as it reduces the suction effect when withdrawing it.
Problem: We are facing a demographic change, leading to an increase in the help tools needed for the elderly. But still, those tools haven’t shown significant improvements in the last years. Especially when it comes to social aspects. Using a walking stick can communicate needs to others but also creates social discomfort for the user.
Solution: Beyond providing support when walking, Lift also helps with standing up again. Through its unique shape, it is easy to securely place Lift on walls, tables, or in the car. The elegant appearance of Lift could help grow social acceptance for all walking aids.
Problem: ASIT started from trying to solve the problem of low accessibility when riding on a double-decked bus. When compared to other large-scale modes of public transport, buses only offer a select number of pirioty seats for those with disabilities or require wheelchair access. This is a problem now and is getting more serious with the cosistently growing aging populating in Hong Kong.
Solution: Our invention has the function to assist the elderly and disabled people to stand up and sit down safely. Moreover, the interior provides high accessibility to the passenger who has personal mobility devices such as a wheelchair.
Problem: This was my graduation project as a part of my Master’s programme at NID, I chose to work on a self-initiated project to do justice to the slow hunch I have been carrying for more than a year. The inability to separate materials from today’s products made of mixed materials inspired me to work on this idea of mono-material.
Solution: Earth Tatva is a unique material composition that reduces mining for natural resources by up to 60%, through recycling post-industrial fired ceramic waste. Earth Tatva is made under a zero-waste manufacturing process, adhering to the principles of a circular economy; Supporting SDG-12.
Problem: I didn't realise until I started doing research for this project how little other people my own age and older knew about the biodiversity that was all around them. I also learned lots this year about the Irish black bee through the association and wanted to do something to help with their conservation efforts.
Solution: Econooc is a hive made for wild native Irish black bees. It bio-mimics the space in a hollow tree from mycelium and other repurposed/sustainable materials. This hive and calendar lets anyone have bees in their garden but also teaches them about biodiversity.
Problem: The marine world occupies 71% of the earth’s surface and has been used for many years now as a container to hide and throw away human waste. It is contaminated by plastic, particularly microplastics which enter the food cycle when consumed by fish.
Solution: Cloud of Sea is an innovative user-friendly tool, adaptable to any type of boat, which encourages and facilitates seafarers interested in the health of the marine world, to remove microplastics that contaminate the waters of our planet. It is an innovative filtering device, adaptable to any type of boat, which removes microplastics from the sea via an internal helix filter.
Problem: Using our voice is one of the most simple and efficient ways to communicate. Over 300,000 people lose their voice every year, due to illness such as voice cancer. When I first saw a YouTube video from a patient who had lost their voice and so used a special device called EL (electrolarynx), I was surprised that the voice from the device was so different.
Solution: Syrinx is a wearable device that restores your voice from the past. With this device, people who had to remove their voice box due to cancer can speak with their past voice again.
Problem: We first came across the issue of mass infection caused by reused syringes. As we started to dig deeper, we figured out that needlestick injuries and cross-infection were more common and troublesome for nurses, rather than reusing syringes. This issue is serious in most Asian countries, as needles must be removed and discarded separately into the sharp containers.
Solution: ANDY is a one-stop syringe disposal solution which completely eliminates the risk of cross-infection and injuries from sharps and needlesticks.
Problem: 16% of the world’s population, an estimation of 1.2 billion people, still lack access to electricity. Therefore, keeping food fresh is always a concern among countries that have a limited use of electricity.
Solution: Kuno is a sustainable and eco-friendly cooler fridge that requires no electrical power to keep fruits and vegetables fresh. This means fresh produce can last longer than usual in a hot and dry climate.
Problem: Speakers currently pose sustainability issues, from poor product architecture and glue-based indissoluble compounds which are difficult to repair and recycle. These issues, coupled with planned obsolescence that shorten product life-cycles are what our project tackles. Additionally, current speakers rely on an old principle, using hard to source materials.
Solution: Ammos is a home audio system which produces music through a sheet of glass. It is built from ecologically sound materials, promotes repairability and product longevity. It tackles sustainability issues in consumer electronics products.
Problem: Footwear production is increasing tenfold, raising the number of shoes entering landfills while suppliers are being pushed to offer more environmentally friendly materials. Two major factors complicating the end-of-life management of footwear is material choice and joining agents. Currently materials focus on performance while adhesives prevent the separation and treatment of materials.
Solution: Made using only 100% biodegradable materials, Voronoi Runners offers a solution to the large amounts of waste impacting the environment from the footwear industry. Eliminating adhesives allowing the materials to be separated and composted individually.
Problem: A conventional obstetric bed doesn't afford the variety of birthing positions, keeping a woman lying on her back when other positions can make labour easier for her. It also looks intimidating and uncomfortable to a would-be mother. We learned from doctors in disadvantaged areas that, at times, they have to ferry mattresses over to reach a woman in labour, or when there are not enough beds in hospitals.
Solution: reBIRTH enables mothers to give birth in the position they want to. Its multiple configurations support a variety of upright and horizontal birthing positions. It makes labour more comfortable and less painful than when done on current obstetric beds.
Problem: Usually people do not get medical check-ups for their teeth and mouth as often as they should. So a number of oncological diseases arise due to complications from late diagnosis.
Solution: This new product - Health Care Toothbrush - is designed to make health care processes easier and allow for detecting an onset of a serious disease in advance. An electrochemical sensor for analysing saliva and exhaled air is integrated into the replaceable electric toothbrush attachment. The sensor responds selectively to changes in the concentration of ions and organic molecules. Every day during tooth brushing, the device determines the onset of diseases such as lung cancer and diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease and inflammatory lung disease.
Problem: There is a need for efficient, highly efficacious treatment using recent advancement of wearable IoT technology after the Total Knee Replacement (TKR) Surgery for the elderly.
Solution: rKIMIA is a wearable device, powered by patented sensor technology, providing a comprehensive solution for remote rehabilitation where patients' home-exercise sessions and activities of daily living data are shared with therapists in realtime to enable personalised prescriptions.
Problem: My grandmother had a neurological disease which forced her to use a ventilatory mask. So, we could see first-hand the inconvenience of this treatment at home: the pressure sores, the leaks, the intolerance… affecting her treatment.Approximately 10% of the world population needs non-invasive ventilatory treatment. However, all of the masks currently on the market only offer 3 or 4 size options, meaning it is hard to find a mask that fits the user properly.
Solution: DreamView is a respiratory mask designed to improve non-invasive ventilation and provides three different models of mask in a single product.
Problem: Coral reefs cover 0.1% of the ocean floor but support 25% of all marine wildlife. The effect of humans on this precious ecosystem has taken its toll, and estimations suggest that 90% of coral reefs will vanish by 2050. Rebuilding and supporting healthy ecosystems, such as coral reefs, is one of the most crucial parts of recovery from the destructive impact humans have had on the planet, and will help to reach the goal of a sustainable future.
Solution: Nemo is a four stage service helping municipalities and coral restoration agencies restore coral reefs in an efficient, sustainable way, with large-scale capacity. It consists of a digital platform, a specialised transport box and a collaborative drone.
Problem: Normal rescue services, like fire brigades, have the right equipment for every emergency. But when whales die slowly on beaches, people have to save them with buckets and towels. Many of the 2,000 annual beachings end deadly because the rescuers are overwhelmed and not properly equipped. This realisation has motivated us to develop a product to save beached whales.
Solution: Thousands of whales beach every year in New Zealand. Although the whales are healthy, only a few can be saved. Our Whale Air Pontoon helps in stabilising, cooling and transporting the beached whales back to the sea to act more efficiently and prevent mass extinction.
Problem: We were inspired by many flaws coming from our awful experiences in real life. For example, in many big cities there are reflecting mirrors installed at the corner of unsignalled intersections to keep road users safe. However, we found that many reflecting mirrors were often poorly installed and unsightly.
Solution: conveX is a brand-new social facility design for use at unsignalled intersections on the road. It consists of over ten thousand reflection units. Its geometry structure successfully reflects the headlight from the approaching car to users to provide alert in advance.
Problem: We all know tyres wear down, but never consider where it all goes. Microplastics are commonly associated with single-use plastics but we were shocked to discover that half a million tonnes of tyre wear is produced annually across Europe. It enters our waterways, the food we eat, and the air we breathe; accounting for up to 50% of PM2.5 & PM10 emissions from road transport. As we move towards electric vehicles, it is crucial to consider the implications of tyre wear, so we are not replacing one pollution source with another.
Solution: Our device uses electrostatics and airflow around the wheel to capture tyre particles (microplastics); to be processed and reused in a variety of applications, creating a closed-loop system.
Problem: How might we design a better glucose monitoring experience for diabetics? In addition to the pain and inconvenience of finger pricking, it takes 4 out of 7 steps to prepare for finger pricking. Current glucometers also show a digital reading which can create anxiety and misinterpretation around fluctuating blood glucose levels for the user..
Solution: AeroLyze is a non-invasive health product for prediabetics that would enable the user to track their glucose levels in a simple way. By replacing blood with a breath, the design eliminates the pain and inconvenience of pricking your finger altogether. Futhermore AeroLyze uses a rating scale interface, instead of a digital reading to reduce anxiety and misinterpretation around fluctuating blood glucose levels.
View all the finalists here
Each national winner will receive £2000 and all 81 finalists will progress to the international stages of the competition where they will have the opportunity to be one of the international top twenty, selected by a panel of Dyson engineers. This shortlist will be announced in October.
These twenty finalists will then be in the running to chosen as the international winner, by James Dyson. What is more, for the first time ever, James Dyson will also choose a sustainability winner from the top twenty shortlist.