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3 World Improving Technologies Bag The 2021 James Dyson Award

The James Dyson Award, an international student design award that encourages young people to “create something that tackles a problem,” announced the winners for this year’s competition today, November 17th, 2021. The award, which is usually given to just one student inventor, set a new milestone this year, with three winners following a record number of submissions. The designs that were found worthy of this prestigious award include a kit that allows people to test for glaucoma at home, REACT device (which stands for Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade) which aims to reduce catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound and a scanner that helps recycle plastic bottles.  Each award winner will get £30,000 in prize money (approximately 16.66 million Naira) as well as £5,000 (2.777 million Naira) for their university. Over 250 outstanding innovations from young engineers and scientists in 28 countries have received approximately $1.9 million in prize money from the James Dyson Foundation.

“I appreciate witnessing the zeal with which young people approach the world’s challenges using good design, engineering, and science,” said Sir James Dyson about this year’s competition. He added that This year’s contributions were so promising that we added a third prize for a medical invention. It’s difficult to commercialize an idea, so I’m hoping that the award’s increased recognition, as well as the financial support it gives, will help these ideas succeed.”

Below is the breakdown of the projects that won this year’s award and the problems they solve:

1. The First project is titled HOPES (which stands for Home eye Pressure E-skin Sensor). It is a wearable biomedical gadget that allows for painless, low-cost IOP (intraocular pressure) testing at home which will help in the early detection of glaucoma, thanks to patent-pending sensor technology and artificial intelligence. The device consists of a glove with a sensor on the fingertip that should be pressed on the upper eyelid. The data collected by the sensor is transferred to a phone through Bluetooth and then uploaded to enable clinicians to access it remotely. An accompanying app compiles the data and provides recommendations.

Glaucoma is the second biggest cause of blindness in the world. It’s also known as the “silent thief of sight” because it’s largely symptom-free. There is no cure, although blindness can be avoided if discovered and treated early. The device, which was created by Kelu Yu, Si Li, and David Lee, was inspired by the diagnosis of creator Kelu Yu’s father with the disease. “For us, it all started with Kelu and her attempt to find a solution for her after the family’s difficulty,” the team explained. “With this win, we aim to be able to assess people’s eye pressure in a pain-free, at-home situation in the future.” They want to use the sensor technology in other health-monitoring applications as well.

2.  Jerry de Vos, from the TU Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands received the sustainability award, a new category that was created this year. He developed a handheld gadget that can determine the sort of plastic used in a product, allowing it to be properly recycled rather than dumped. The gadget does this by detecting plastic components using infrared light. De Vos works with a group dedicated to reducing plastic waste and has firsthand experience with the problems that arise when plastic is improperly sorted. He plans to use the award money to “accelerate the development process of both the electronics and software side of the idea,” according to his statement.
3.  The third prize went to Joseph Bentley of Loughborough University, whose rapid emergency actuating tamponade (React) device, which inflates a silicone balloon into knife wounds to minimize blood loss, had already won the UK’s James Dyson Award in August. The current recommendation for treating stab wounds is to never remove the knife item from the wound if it is still in place. This is the case because the item applies internal pressure to the wound site while also filling the cavity and limiting internal bleeding. The implantable medical-grade silicone balloon tamponade would be inserted into the wound tract by a first responder in Joseph’s concept, which is based on the same principle. Joseph’s friends had been stabbed in London, neither fatally, but the experiences had prompted him to devise a remedy.
“The REACT system has the potential to save lives in the fight against knife crime, but medical device development is a long and difficult process.” The James Dyson Award’s recognition and funding have given me the drive and confidence to finish developing the REACT system and get it into the hands of first responders as soon as possible,” says Joseph Bentley.
“Developing a medical device is extremely difficult, and there will be no end of challenges,” Sir James remarked, “but I would advise Joseph not to be discouraged because the chance to save lives is so immense.”

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