Dyson Innovation Awards Call for Canadian Tech Ideas, Designs

By: Lee Rickwood

March 26, 2013

‘Design something that solves a problem’.

Sounds simple enough.

But the ingenuity and power of great design can have simple beginnings, yet bring about tremendous positive change, too.

The U.K. based Dyson Innovation Awards team is now calling for great designs from around the world, including Canada, and they’re awarding serious prizes for the winning entries. An inventor and innovator himself, James Dyson issues the annual Awards challenge in the hope of making a real change in people’s lives.

The James Dyson Awards honour simplicity in design, and problem-solving in life.

The James Dyson Awards honour simplicity in design, and problem-solving in life.

So what’s your problem?

And, more to the point, what’s your design for solving it?

Solutions, in this case start by sending an idea and an entry form to the 2013 James Dyson Awards. Simple enough.

The Awards competition, run in eighteen countries, celebrates creativity and innovation, ingenious technology and sustainable engineering. The challenge is about design and development of great new ideas, sure, but especially those that do more with less.

Fewer raw materials, less energy consumption. Technology that performs better, lasts longer, while having less environmental impact.

“Young design engineers have the ability to develop tangible technologies, which can change lives,” Dyson says. “The award rewards those who have the persistence and tenacity to develop their ideas – it is an exciting but challenging process. Often the simplest ideas have the biggest impact.”
Award winners not only get cash, but product development advice and assistance. Start-up companies have emerged from past year’s winning entries and ideas.

And seeing how the prize fund has doubled, even more entries are expected in this year’s challenge.

University and college-level students – and recent grads – can now submit their ideas at jamesdysonawards.org ; entries can be sent in until August 1, 2013.

Canadians have been part of the Awards, literally and quite successfully, for some time: we’ve been on JDA’s Top 20 Finalist List in three of the past four years, and a Canadian is on the Judging Panel this year.

Toronto’s Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires, previous winners of a Dyson Awards, with the new AMO Arm prosthetic device.

Toronto’s Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires, previous winners of a Dyson Awards, with the new AMO Arm prosthetic device.

In 2011, Michal Prywata from Ryerson University was a Finalist for designing a prosthetic limb called AMO Arm that can help patients avoid major surgery and long rehabilitation. Amputees strap on the prosthetic device, along with a headset which measures brain waves. A computer understands the signals and allows the prosthetic to move accordingly to the patient’s intentions (you can see more in this YouTube video).

Last year, a Canadian team was a Finalist with its Koriolis Centrifuge – a hand-powered medical device that’s great alternative to older, bigger, electrical powered centrifuges; inexpensive, portable, fast and effective in diagnosing diseases like anemia in developing countries.

This year, the prize fund has doubled to $147,000, with the prize for the international winner tripling to $46,000 (and $15,000 for their institution). There are two prizes for winning International entries, and a National winner from each country.

(Prizes are in British Pounds, so values are somewhat approximate, pending conversion to local currency.)

The award is open to any university and college-level student of product design, industrial design or engineering, (or graduate within four years of graduation) who is studying or studied in Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Individuals or groups of up to four students can apply.

Entrants can submit videos, images or sketches of their prototype, along with stories explaining their inspiration and design process, to the competition website, jamesdysonawards.org, by August 1st.

National finalists will be announced in September; the International winners will be announced in November.

Simple enough?




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