Skip to main content


International top twenty shortlist 2020

In September we announced the national winners and runners-up of the James Dyson Award 2020, across our 27 operating countries and regions. From a glucometer for pre-diabetics powered by breath in the US, to a device that can power wearable technology using temperature difference in China, young inventors across the globe are tackling worldwide issues head-on. And this is just the beginning.

We now embark on the international prizes of the Award as Sir James Dyson gears up to pick his international winner, a sustainability winner and two international runners-up. As part of this process, a panel of Dyson engineers, based across our research labs in the UK, Malaysia and Singapore, have whittled our current national finalists down to a shortlist of twenty inventions that will progress to the international stages.

Within this shortlist are ideas, improvements and processes to help improve life as we know it. These 20 inventions show that young people from all corners of the globe want to address world-wide issues in a better, more sustainable and innovative way.

"This year has brought massive challenges and if one thing is certain, our top twenty James Dyson Award inventors have shown that young minds and their unfiltered curiosity need a seat at the table.” Tom Crawford, Global Director of Sustainability and top twenty judge. 

Top 20 shortlist 

Earth Tatva – India

Most ceramics that are produced require mining for resources. And many ceramics are made from multiple materials which makes it hard to recycle. Earth Tatva recycles ceramic waste and combines it with virgin clay to create new 70% recycled ceramics, creating a closed loop system using an existing waste stream. It can be fired at lower temperatures than virgin materials and has been found to be 35% stronger than traditional ceramics.

Quito – Australia

Quito is a mosquito trap that mimics human presence via the fermentation of sugar water to produce CO2, heat and an odour to attract and capture mosquitoes, rather than just repelling them. This will allow for the reduction of mosquito-borne diseases, especially in popular tropical tourist destinations such as Bali, Indonesia.

Eye-Robot – Belgium

Eye-Robot is a new technology for super-precision in eye surgery, potentially opening up previously unachievable operations by preventing hand tremors and ensuring eye stabilisation.

The Attentiv Catheter – Canada

Attentiv Catheter is a sensor put at the tip of an IV Catheter that monitors the site of IV delivery, e.g. the vein, to monitor for IV infiltration (when IV fluid leaks into surrounding tissue rather than into the blood stream) by immediately detecting if the catheter is either inside or outside of the vein.

Scope – Canada

Most camera lenses rely on physical movement to zoom which is a problem for compact cameras as it results in lengthy adjustments and reduced image quality. Scope is a new form of camera lens that zooms via applied voltages to enhance image quality. The lens is made from liquid crystals rather than curved glass or plastic. The crystals can reorient under an electric or magnetic field modulating their refractive index. It has applications for smartphones, AR/VR, machine vision, microscopes and beyond.

Coal Ash Hardened Marine Soil – Hong Kong

Traditionally marine sand is used in reclamation backfilling, but it is costly and unsustainable. Coal ash-hardened marine soil is a new geomaterial invented to reduce reliance on purchasing costly sand for sea reclamation backfilling.

Econooc – Ireland

Econooc is a hive made for wild native Irish black bees. It bio-mimics the space in a hollow tree using mycelium and other sustainable materials. This hive and an accompanying calendar allow anyone to have bees in their garden, but also teaches them about biodiversity.

X-Tile – Italy

Climate change is a problem aggravated by electrical air conditioners. X-Tile is a roof tile that allows buildings to self-regulate the indoor temperature without the use of air conditioners. It can reflect light and heat by turning white above 20°C and absorb it by turning black below 20°C, subsequently cooling or heating a home, helping to reduce energy consumption.

KIMIA – Singapore

Total Knee Replacement is one of the most common orthopaedic surgeries performed worldwide and is followed by a long and un-engaging rehabilitation process. KIMIA is a wearable device powered by patented flexible sensor technology. It provides a comprehensive solution for remote rehabilitation monitoring – where patients who have undergone surgery may follow guided exercises at home, and have their progress shared and monitored by therapists in real-time.

Carbyn – US

Carbyn seeks to mitigate the climate crisis by creating a carbon negative bioplastic, made of Biochar and PHA, a bioplastic produced by bacteria through fermentation. It can be used in place of small plastic objects such as flossing aids. This bioplastic is home compostable and can make the soil more fertile as it biodegrades.

The Blue Box – Spain

Almost 40% of women skip the mammogram breast cancer screening with many reporting that this is because of the pain associated with the screening. This problem inspired The Blue Box, an at-home breast cancer testing device which is pain-free, non-irradiating and low-cost. The user collects a urine sample and six chemical sensors then react if certain targeted breast cancer biomarkers are present in the sample. This information is then processed using an AI-algorithm to confirm a diagnosis which is then communicated to the user in the App.

Diagnose Scoliosis – Hong Kong

Several studies have shown that every year, thousands of children suffer from scoliosis. They have no choice but to regularly take X-ray images for diagnosis. However, radiation given out by X-ray machines is harmful to children's health. To free more children from the harm of radiation, Diagnose Scoliosis is a new approach that uses RGB-D images.

Myonics – Netherlands

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive neuromuscular disease that mainly affects males. It is one of the most common hereditary diseases and occurs in about 1 in every 3500 boys worldwide.  Although the ability of men with DMD to move their muscles reduces over time, their EMG signal remains. Myonics measures and processes this EMG signal and translates it into cursor movement and clicking.

SYRINX – Japan

Using one’s voice is one of the most simple and speedy ways of communicating, but over 300,000 people lose their voice every year due to reasons such as voice cancer. Syrinx is a wearable device for those who have had their voice box removed because of cancer. It vibrates a user’s throat so that they can speak in their voice again by moving their mouth.

AuREUS -  The Philippines

AuREUS aims to incorporate solar power generation into existing structures in urban environments through solar power generation windows and walls. It also offers a more efficient and sustainable way to generate power from UV light. It uses a technology synthesised from up-cycled crop waste. Luminescent particles, derivable from selected fruits and vegetables, are suspended in a resin substrate. When hit by UV light, the particles absorb and re-emit visible light along its edges. Photovoltaic cells, which line edges of the window, capture the visible light emitted and convert it to electricity.

Aerolyze – US

AeroLyze is the world's first breath glucometer for pre-diabetics. Unlike other glucometers, no blood is required because AeroLyze uses breath acetone analysis. Acetone is a compound that gives pre-diabetics a distinct breath smell and a by-product of fat combustion. When you blow into AeroLyze, the gas sensor samples the acetone exhaled. The lower the acetone level, the higher the blood glucose.

Start Now – China

Many medical devices in the existing market need a continuous power supply, but existing batteries are fast in power consumption, high in continuous cost and serious in environmental pollution caused by disposable batteries. Start Now is wearable medical equipment that uses human body temperature to continuously power itself.

Safe BVM – US

The manual resuscitator or the Bag Valve Mask (BVM) is an essential first line of care device for breathless patients. Unlike a ventilator, it is very difficult to deliver precise breaths to patients with the BVM. The Safe BVM provides intuitive haptic, visual, and auditory feedback enabling users to manually ventilate patients safely.

ReGlove – Sweden

Approximately 300 billion single-use gloves end up in landfill each year. ReGlove takes advantage of this material by taking contaminated gloves, and re-using them to create a fresh “new” pair of gloves. This system enables on-site re-manufacturing of contaminated gloves, resulting in a more sustainable solution.

The Tyre Collective – UK

Every time a vehicle brakes, accelerates or turns a corner, the tyres wear down and tiny particles become airborne. These micro-plastics are small enough to become airborne and have an adverse effect on health. The Tyre Collective aims to reduce this invisible pollution by capturing the tyre particles at the source. A device is fitted to the wheel and uses electrostatics to collect particles as they are emitted from the tyres. Once collected the particles can be recycled or reused in new tyres, or other materials such as ink, 3D-printing or soundproofing. 

End of main content. Return to top of main content.

Select your location