Australians prove design skills with qualifying invention awesomeness

Dyson may make some of the world’s best engineered vacuum cleaners, but it’s also a company focused on helping make things that make the future a better place. To do this, it turns to regular people, and it’s here that it finds deserving recipients of the James Dyson Award.

It’s a competition that takes place yearly and seeks to find the best and most innovative products, as well as their designers, with the entrants coming in from all over the world. It doesn’t matter where you’re from with this either: as long as you have an idea and a way to make it happen, you can enter.

Before the final competition happens, Dyson runs continent based awards, and as of today, we have winners for Australia.

In third place, we have a ski mask designed to help save lives from people trapped in avalanches. Called the “Deep Breath,” this product uses a membrane that still allows you to breathe, but blocks snow from entering the mask, and with a two-way valve, removes carbon dioxide and sends it to the back of the helmet as you breath back in.

Deep Breath was developed by Tristan Brega of Swinburne University, a keen snowboarder that was tested tested and prototyped, and has even been shown to work as a conventional ski mask.

Second place goes to a motorbike helmet developed by NSW’s Alfred Boyadgis, a student at the University of New South Wales.

This helmet uses a combination of technology to show an internal heads up display almost as if you’re looking through a translucent computer, and designed for police, it will look up number plates, check GPS coordinates, listen to radio, and increase safety.

But the first prize goes to someone with a device aimed at helping children.

Created by another UNSW student, the Roam is a small oxygen tank kids can carry around with them.

Over two million Australians have an asthmatic condition, and the developer of this invention, Shan Shan Wang, realised that a product could be made to help people suffering respiratory conditions and still let them walk around with their air supply.

“By talking to parents and paediatricians I heard how children were frustrated by the large heavy tanks and the painful nasal prongs,” said Wang, who worked with respirator doctors at St. Vincent’s in Sydney.

“It was in that moment that I thought, hey why not create something better – a lightweight canister with a comfortable nasal breathing cap in one unit. Roam ended up solving two problems in one packaged solution.”

Wang won the Australian arm of the James Dyson Award and will receive $3000 to further develop the idea, while she and the Roam project will head to the international stage to see if it’s the best project as judged by James Dyson himself.