2011 James Dyson Award Now Accepting Entries

The 2011 international James Dyson Award has issued a call for entries, starting on April 5, 2011. The award program challenges young engineers and designers to develop problem solving inventions and runs in eighteen countries. Celebrating ingenuity and creativity, the winner receives £10,000 (around $16,000) to develop their invention and £10,000 for their university. Entries are accepted until August 2, 2011.

Last year's award was won by Samuel Adeloju, an industrial design graduate from University of New South Wales Sydney. His invention, Longreach, is a lifesaving projectile buoyancy aid that uses grenade propulsion technology to fire an emergency buoyancy aid up to 150 meters out to sea. I spoke with Adeloju, who is now refining the technology with a view to putting it into commercial production.

Last Year's James Dyson Award Winners

What was your inspiration for Longreach?
Military training is about the use of lethal force. But my training with the Army Reserves exposed me to hi-tech grenade propulsion technology which prompted me to explore the idea of making a life-saving flotation device that could be safely fired over a long distance.

Has your invention evolved since winning the James Dyson Award - will it be available commercially?

Longreach has undergone several design changes since winning the James Dyson Award and there's been lots of interest internationally. The potential for Longreach to change the way people are rescued at sea is definitely being realized.

What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering the award?

The reason, I feel that Longreach has been so successful has been the fact that it was novel approach to water rescue, but the research and design considerations that backed it up, made it a very tangible and implementable design.

Make sure you protect your idea. I had a lot of trouble initially protecting my designs because I did not submit provisional patents. It takes a very small amount of time and money to file a provisional patent, but it gives you the opportunity to protect your design if there is interest in it. It is very difficult to do after the event.