James Dyson Award showcases serious international innovation talent

100% human

Every year, Australia produces some solid engineering and design ideas, but it’s not the only country to do so, and while we have a pretty strong entrant for the James Dyson Award, some of the competition is pretty impressive, too.

The winner of the Australian division of the James Dyson Award – Shan Shan Wang – did pretty well to beat out futuristic police helmet and avalanche-protective ski mask with her kid friendly oxygen tank, but it’s going to be interesting to see it go up against ideas from around the world, too.

Around 650 projects were entered into the Dyson Award, which seeks to find the best inventions and ideas from around the planet, with James Dyson judging the best and choosing the winner that shows the most amount of promise.

“Bold ideas, big or small, can solve significant problems,” said Dyson. “The entries into this year’s award, from young engineers and scientists around the world, all show promise but are only at the start of the long process towards commercialisation.”

Some of these ideas look truly remarkable, and will definitely provide Ms. Wang with some excellent competition, including one from New Zealander Jake Evill called the “Cortex.”

An evolution of the arm cast for when you have a broken arm, the Cortex is a 3D printed cast utilising the strong honeycomb structure.

The Cortex is printed out of recyclable plastic for the arm in question, and while it’s a tight fit, it also allows plenty of breathing thanks to the holes left in the structure, allowing the arm to be washed easily, as well as not getting too sweaty in warmer weather.

It’s not the only idea that impresses us, with a four-person team from America making a new type of exoskeleton arm for helping workers lift objects.

Called the “Titan Arm,” it was developed by Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill, Nick Parrotta, and Niko Vladimirov, and it will attach to a back using a brace and help enhance human strength, making it easier for workers lifting quantities of large and weighty objects.

Not only useful for that, the creators of the Titan Arm see it as a solution for people who need to rebuild muscle from injuries, or who may have disabilities.

Another American project is also a cool idea, and it’s for cyclists everywhere.

Developed by Kent Frankovich, “Revolights” are LED rings that can be attached to the inside of bicycle rims, with a lithium-ion battery powering the lights and an accelerometer working out when the lights need to be switched on.

In action, the front half of the bike shines in white while the back half shines in red, and will tell everyone that yes, the cyclist is on the road, minimising issues with riding in darkened environments.

Switzerland’s Mugi Yamamoto’s idea of a new style of printer also has our attention.

“Stack” is a compact printer relying on inkjet technology that sits on top of a stack of paper and gradually prints using the paper sitting underneath, giving off the impression that the printer will swallow the paper as it moves down the stack, printing as it works down.

We’re not sure if an inkjet will be used in a home like this, but it’s an interesting idea, and if you’re printing a lot of things, would certainly be fun to setup and watch.

Austrian project “Sono” by Rudolf Stefanich also looks interesting, and comprises of a device that can be fitted to your window that will analyse sounds passing through, and aim to cancel out those sounds.

Developed to deal with noise pollution, it can take electromagnetic noise and WiFi sound stutter, identify it with its broadband antenna rings, and either let you hear them, or kill them altogether.

From the sound of how this works, we don’t think this will block the sound of your noisy drunken neighbours, but it’s a neat idea nonetheless, and we’re intrigued to see whether it pans out.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, though, with 18 excellent ideas shortlisted for the James Dyson Award prize, down from 650 that entered this year.

The winner will be announced on November 7, and while there can only be one, I think we can all agree that the ideas shown here makes everyone here a winner in their own right.