Image: Nobuyuki Hayashi

Winners of the 2021 Dyson Award have been announced

National and international prize winners of the 2021 James Dyson Award have been revealed.

Top products include an at-home intraocular pressure (IOP) tester to detect glaucoma and a plastic scanner to help to recycle. 

Due to a record-breaking number of entries, this year’s competition announced three winners, who each received a £30,000 prize. 

HOPES (Home Eye Pressure E-Skin Sensor) was developed by Kelu You, Si Li, and David Lee from the National University of Singapore, following You’s father suffering from constant eye pain and headaches with glaucoma. 

The biomedical device (an inconspicuous glove with sensors on the fingertip) is a low-cost, pain-free way to monitor eye pressure, and links to a mobile app that allows users to track and share their data with medical professionals. 

After finding out they had won the International prize, the team stated: “For us, this all started with Kelu and her attempt to create a solution for her father after the problem they faced as a family.

“We want to improve people’s quality of life, and aspire to one day apply our research group’s sensor technology across different health monitoring applications, such as robotics and biomedical devices.”

Young design engineers have the ability to develop tangible technologies that can change lives. 

-James Dyson

The Sustainability prize went to Jerry de Vos of TU Delft in the Netherlands for creating the Plastic Scanner, a handheld device that detects what kind of plastic an item is to reduce pollution in recycling sorting facilities. 

De Vos spoke of his inspiration: “As a member of the core team of Precious Plastic, I have experienced the negative impact of plastic pollution first-hand.

“It struck me that identifying and sorting plastics is a major bottleneck (pun intended) in the recycling process.”

The final international prize was given to REACT (Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade), a new system for controlling bleeding from a stab wound. 

The life-saving device, which won the Medical prize, was designed by Loughborough University graduate, Joseph Bentley, as part of his Product Design and Technology degree. 

REACT is used to prevent excessive blood loss by inserting a silicone balloon tamponade into the wound, which inflates and stems the bleeding.  

On winning, Bentley said: “Knife crime is a topic that is personal to me, as two of my friends were victims of knife-related incidents. 

“Seeing the profound effect that it had on my friends and their families urged me to try and create a solution that could help others in the future.”

He added: “This prestigious endorsement confirms that the REACT concept could have real-world benefits and a positive impact on society. 

“Although medical device testing takes a long time, I’m looking forward to using the prize money to develop my innovation further and hopefully see the device in the hands of first responders saving lives.”

James Dyson spoke on the aims of the award: “Young design engineers have the ability to develop tangible technologies that can change lives. 

“The James Dyson Award rewards those who can have the persistence and tenacity to develop their ideas.”

Other top national winners included: Enayball (an accessible drawing tool for people with physical disabilities), Pyrus (a sustainably produced wood-like material), Maniflex (an orthosis specially designed for children with cerebral palsy), and Tríada (cutlery set for visually impaired people).

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