Fifteen project finalists have been shortlisted by a panel of high-profile designers, engineers, academics and journalists for the design-focussed James Dyson Award. They will now be judged by the aforementioned Founder and designer of the iconic Dyson vacuum cleaner, where a winner and two runners-up will be selected.
With the brief to "design something that solves a problem," there have been a vast array of creatively brilliant ideas with real potential to enrich and aid people's lives. These innovationary concepts (with 3 from the UK selected) are as follows:
The BETH Project
Abbreviated from "Benevolent Technologies for Health," BETH is a new take on prosthetic limbs. It is designed with a specialised 'jammable' material that can self adjust to the constantly changing shape of the amputee's physiology, and kept inexpensive through the use of modern manufacturing techniques.
STEPHOE - Working Down To Earth
A rather archaic agricultural tool such as the Hoe has been in much need of a modern upgrade, especially something as simply brilliant as attaching a step onto it. Designed for farmers in developing countries, the STEPHOE aims to eliminate any backpain that comes from running this 1.5 kg metal blade attached to a wooden post.
One of my favourites. Smart Aid is an interactive emergency call system, turning the idea of a drone from a system of surveillance to one that provides care for anybody who finds themselves stuck in a dangerous situation. A smartphone app will call the UAV over, which contains key first aid equipment such as a defibrilator.
SafetyNet - Escape Rings
Due to commercial fishing operations catching increasing amounts of juvenile and non-target fish, stocks are constantly declining. With this in mind, SafetyNet is equipped with illuminated escape rings that are a perfect fit for young fish to escape without losing the prime stock. It essentially is the oceanic version of emergency exit signs.
ReWired allows your ceiling light to be moved across all axes to a position you want via a series of cables and pulleys. Using a mobile app, you can control the positioning of this light, and create preset locations so that it will move to the perfectly arranged position for any task such as cooking or reading.
A nifty gadget for the swimmer: the Revival Vest is a self inflating life jacket that uses a smart fabric technology to monitor your respiration, by constantly detecting the changes in the circumference of your chest. If the user blacks out, the vest will immediately inflate, bringing the swimmer back up to the surface. And the inflation areas are positioned as such so the person will be pre-positioned in the upright safety position, ready for resuscitation.
Reach & Match
Making braille engaging for both blind and visually impaired children, Reach & Match is an innovative new take on introducing the patterns, symbols and spatial awareness of this form of literacy in an exciting and accessible fashion.
For a place such as the rather grey and overcast Britain we live in, a unique concrete that reacts to water and reveals geometric patterns would be perfect for brightening up anyone's rain drenched walk! LOUIS has the ambitious goal of bringing spaces alive simply using the elements of nature.
Hop! The Following Suitcase
This project is rather self explanatory with the title: Hop! is a suitcase that follows you. The case contains three receivers which pick up signals transmitted by your smartphone. These are then processed via the on board Arduino board into a location for the case to navigate to.
GiraDora: Safe Agua
Another one of our favourites, taking something so simple as washing clothes by hand and making it a much more beneficial process. The GiraDora reduces hand washing time from an hour to just 3-5 minutes, and cuts water usage down by a third. Perfect for the slums where this was tested.
Fil'o _ Parenting Aid For Deaf Parents And Hearing Children
Again, another amazing invention that's small in its form and technology; but groundbreaking in its implications. Fil'o is a watch for deaf parents that vibrate anytime their child is crying, making sure the Mother or Father with hearing difficulties doesn't miss a single moment of connection with the child.
Inspired by nature, the Emergency Airdrop is a parachute that acts just like a sycamore seed to fall softly to the ground and provide aid to those in need.
Balde a Balde
The Balde a Balde is a portable tap that removes the use of multiple dirty buckets to transfer water. Tested in the same Cerro Verde slum of Peru, this has shown a decrease of the possibility of contamination, therefore saving lives.
Sewing machines are rather hideous pieces of design, and wholly inaccessible to beginners in their usage. Luckily, this is where the UK-based Alto comes in, designed with ease in mind and looking pretty sleek at the same time.
All of this kind of makes me (and most probably many others) feel rather inferior with their monstrosities from design classes in school. It's certainly a bright future for design and technology.