James Dyson Award 2021: three winners with world-improving inventions
HOPES, A device for pain-free, at-home eye
pressure testing, opeing up access to glaucoma testing, by students of the
National University of Singapore.
Scanner, A low-cost, handheld device to identify
plastic for recycling, by Jerry de Vos from TU Delft.
REACT, A device to stem bleeding to help save
the lives of stabbing victims, by Joseph Bentley from Loughborough
HONG KONG SAR - Media
OutReach - 17 November 2021 -The James Dyson Award has now given nearly £1m in
prize money to over 250 promising inventions from young engineers and
scientists in 28 countries around the world. In 2021, the Award received a
record number of entries worldwide and Sir James Dyson chose three global
winners for the first time, each receiving £30,000 in prize money to
support the next stages of their inventions.
Commenting on this year's
competition, Sir James Dyson said, "I enjoy seeing the enthusiasm with which
young people tackle the world's problems using good design, engineering and
science. So promising were this year's entries that we've awarded a third
prize, focused on medical invention. Commercialising an idea is very hard – I
hope that the awareness that the Award drives, as well as the financial support
it provides, will give these ideas a springboard to success."
– HOPES, designed by Kelu Yu, Si Li and David Lee
year's International winner of the James Dyson Award was inspired by one of the
inventors', Kelu, father's diagnosis of glaucoma. After witnessing his
discomfort and multiple hospital visits, she realised there is a global need
for a less invasive and more accessible method for Intraocular Pressure (IOP)
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness
and it is also the leading cause of registered, permanent blindness in Hong
it is largely symptom-free, it's also known as the "silent thief of sight".
There is no cure but, if diagnosed and treated early, blindness can be
Today, regular IOP monitoring is a critical tool in
helping clinicians determine long-term treatment plans and goals. This is
achieved through the Goldmann Applanation Tonometry – regarded as the gold
standard for the measurement of IOP. There is a demand for safe, accurate,
low-cost, at-home IOP measurement devices to better improve the patient
HOPES, (which stands for Home eye Pressure E-skin
Sensor) is a wearable biomedical device for pain-free, low cost, at-home IOP
testing. Powered by patent pending sensor technology and artificial
intelligence, HOPES is a convenient device for users to frequently self-monitor
After creating a profile in the App, the user wears the
HOPES glove with the sensor placed at the fingertip, pressing this against the
centre of the eyelid. The fingertip employs a unique sensor architecture that
captures dynamic pressure information of the user's eye with sub-millisecond
precision. The captured signals are processed by machine learning algorithms to
continuously and accurately compute users' IOP.
Data is transmitted via Bluetooth to paired devices or
uploaded to the Cloud to be accessed remotely by clinicians. The App prompts
users with easy-to-read measurement history and direct links to healthcare
systems, allowing them to seek medical help to minimise future symptoms.
The team plan to collaborate with clinicians at the
National University Hospital to collect and analyse patients' eye pressure data
to train the device's machine learning mode. At the same time, they are working
on optimising HOPES' performance, and improving its design.
– Plastic Scanner, invented by Jerry de Vos
is a lightweight, safe and readily available material which can be used to make
long-lasting, durable products. It has a bad reputation because it is often not
thought to be recyclable and so ends up in landfill, or worse on the beach or
in our oceans. However, with the right technologies plastics can be widely
recycled successfully at end of life and transformed into new products, which
themselves are long-lasting and durable.
challenge is identifying the plastic so that it can be recycled in the correct
way, rather than sent to landfill. The technology exists but is expensive and
rare. With greater availability of plastic identification much more plastic can
be recycled and therefore used more effectively.
Scanner, invented by Industrial and Product Design graduate Jerry De Vos from
the Netherlands, is this year's Sustainability winner. Plastic Scanner is a
handheld device that when held against plastic will tell the user what
materials it's made from. It uses near-infrared spectroscopy, a technology that
can categorise more than 75% of plastics.
Jerry is a
member of Precious Plastic,
an organisation that aims to reduce plastic waste. Through his work for the
organisation he has witnessed the negative impact of plastic pollution
first-hand and the bottlenecks caused when plastic is not identified and sorted
in the recycling process. Around the world, much of this process is done by
hand which takes time and is prone to error. Jerry has seen successful
technology used in large factories in the Netherlands where infrared
reflections assist with the sorting. This is a vital step for ensuring it is
recycled properly. Jerry's mission has been to make this technology available
for everyone around the world so they can recycle better.
Scanner uses near-infrared spectroscopy to detect types of plastic – a new and
low-cost approach to traditional infrared spectroscopy. The Scanner is also uses
open source GPL-v3 license, so anyone can assemble the breakout board and embed
the electronics into a handheld device. Open source welcomes feedback and
improvements from experts, so the project will continuously improve as more
people recycle plastic around the world.
learnt that much plastic entering our oceans comes from low and middle-income
countries. It is his mission to support recycling initiatives in these nations
with the way he designed the low-cost and ease of use of the Plastic Scanner.
During development, Jerry interviewed recyclers from India, Indonesia, Kenya
and Curacao to ensure his model was suitable for end users.
gathered a team of friends specialising in embedded systems and machine
learning to support his creation of new prototypes and pilot the Scanner in
both industry and low resource contexts. Long-term his goal is to make the
project sustain itself, with DIY versions of the Scanner, whilst enriching
Open-source documentation to make it easier for others to get involved and
contribute to his mission.
– REACT, invented by Joseph Bentley
Knife crime is an issue
in many countries around the world and last year, with rates of knife crime on
the rise in almost all continents, particularly in countries with strict gun
laws. In England and Wales alone, there were around 46,000 offences involving a
knife or sharp instrument, which is the highest number of offences since the
year ending March 2011.
average wait time for an ambulance in the UK is currently just over eight
minutes, while the target response time is 12 minutes for emergency ambulance calls
in Hong Kong, yet
it can only take five minutes for someone to bleed to death.
stands for Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade) aims to reduce catastrophic
blood loss from a knife wound. The current advice for treating stab wounds is
to never remove the knife object from the wound if it is still in place.
This is because the object is applying internal pressure to the wound site
whilst also filling the cavity and preventing internal bleeding. Joseph's
concept is based on the same principle, the implantable medical-grade silicone
balloon tamponade would be inserted into the wound tract by a first responder.
The actuator device is connected to the tamponade valve, and the user selects
the wound location on the device interface. Squeezing the trigger on the
actuator starts the automated inflation sequence, and the tamponade is inflated
to a defined pressure based on the wound location to try and stem the bleeding.
During the early
research and development phases, Joseph discovered that current wound
management techniques like wound packing are sometimes used by paramedics to
prevent bleeding from stab wounds.
This process involves tightly packing a wound with gauze, which will help to
apply pressure internally to the site. According to Joseph, the process can be
slow, technical, and extremely painful to the victim, but has in many cases
proven to be successful in quickly stopping bleeding from knife wounds.
Despite this, the
technique may not be suitable for wounds in cavities like the abdomen, which is
the most common area for knife wounds to appear following a knife attack.
During his prototyping, Joseph found that the simple application and automated
inflation procedure of the REACT system could be a more effective method for
first responders compared to traditional methods. He claims his prototype
Tamponade could potentially be in place and stopping haemorrhage in under a
minute, which Joseph estimates could save hundreds of lives a year.
global James Dyson Award prize will inject a further £30,000 into Joseph's
project. He aims to commercialise his invention in the coming years, using the
Award money for further research and official medical testing into how the
REACT invention can become a global solution to knife wounds and hopefully save
The James Dyson Award
forms part of a wider commitment by Sir James Dyson, to demonstrate the power
of engineers to change the world. The Dyson Institute of Engineering
and Technology, the James
Dyson Foundation and James Dyson Award
encourage aspiring engineers to apply their knowledge and discover new ways to
improve lives through technology. Since the competition first opened in 2005,
James and the James Dyson Foundation have donated over £135m to
boundary-breaking concepts in education and other charitable causes. The Award
has supported nearly 300 inventions with prize money.
O-Wind Turbine is an omnidirectional wind
turbine that can capture wind travelling in any direction, unlike conventional
turbines. This allows it to be used in urban environments where wind flow is multi-directional.
The sKan is a low cost and non-invasive
melanoma detection device invented by a team of medical and bioengineering
undergraduates from McMaster University, Canada. The team are currently using
the prize money to refine their design to ensure it passes the US Food and Drug
EcoHelmet is a foldable, paper bike helmet for bike shares. It
uses a honeycomb configuration to protect the head from impact and folds
completely flat when not in use. It is currently in product development stages.
 Sugrue, M., Balogh, Z., Lynch, J.,
Bardsley, J., Sisson, G. and Weigelt, J. (2007). GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT
OF HAEMODYNAMICALLY STABLE PATIENTS WITH STAB WOUNDS TO THE ANTERIOR ABDOMEN.
ANZ Journal of Surgery, 77(8), pp.614–620.
ABOUT THE COMPETITION
Design something that solves a problem. This problem may be a frustration that
we all face in daily life, or a global issue. The important thing is that the
solution is effective and demonstrates considered design thinking. Unlike other
competitions, participants are given full autonomy over their intellectual
Entries are judged first at the national level by a panel of external judges,
before progressing to the international stage. A panel of Dyson engineers then
select an international shortlist of 20 entries. The top 20 projects are then
reviewed by Sir James Dyson who selects his global winners.
The 2021 prizes
International winner receives a prize of £30,000, plus £5,000 for the winner's
Sustainability winner and the Medical winner receive a prize of £30,000.
National winner receives £2,000.
How to enter.
Candidates enter through an online application form via the James Dyson Award
website. Entries open again on 16 March 2022. Entrants should concisely explain
what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best
entries solve a real problem, are clearly explained, show iterative
development, provide evidence of physical prototyping and have supporting
imagery and a video.