Kiwi inventiveness to the fore as finalists announced for James Dyson Awards

A harvester that converts vibrations from city traffic into electricity, handles that turn sticks into sophisticated tramping poles and a 3D printed anchor to affix prosthetic noses to have been named as the three finalists in the New Zealand leg of the annual James Dyson Award global product design innovation contest. 

12 inventions made it into the New Zealand shortlist and five Kiwi entries, including the three national finalists, are in with a chance to have their inventions reviewed by Dyson design engineers who select the top 20 projects from around the world (the other two Kiwi finalists will be announced later this week). From there James Dyson, the British inventor the awards are named for, chooses the international winner (who get $45,000 for themselves and $15,000 for their university to commercialise their idea), and two runners up.

The energy harvester was created by Auckland’s Manoocher Zarif. He made it from a Piezo device, which converts pressure and movement into electricity, lighting up an LED lamp.

Zarif is a Massey University design graduate who works at a billboard company. The design could power lighting, billboards and signs as an off-grid option for urban areas, he says.

Another Massey design graduate, James Skeggs, came up with Traverse, a pair of trekking pole handles that can be attached to sticks so trampers can more safely gauge and cross rivers.

“Rivers are one of the greatest hazards in our outdoors,” he says. “On average there are three river crossing deaths a year in New Zealand, and 70 percent of tramping related injuries involving trips, slips or falls. This design set out to promote the awareness of safety within tramping, and encouraging safer decision-making in and around rivers.”

After completing a river safety course, he consulted with The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council when designing his product.

Wellington designer Zach Challies entered a 3D-printed base to anchor a nose prosthetic. It’s designed to give confidence to facial prosthetics wearers, as traditional models are prone to rips and tears and can easily be dislodged, he says.

The base connects to three implants in the wearer’s skull, via magnets.

Challies is a design student at Victoria University.

“Traditional prosthetics restrict the active lifestyles of their wearer,” he says. “They fear the dislodging of their nose and exposure of their facial deformities making them anxious in most public situations. My second solution is a two piece, non-traditional prosthetic worn for sports. This prosthesis could have the same retention mechanism; if the outer prosthetic facade was knocked loose a flat guard would allow airflow and protect the wearer’s sensitive area.”

Other projects to make the finalist list for the national round include a coffee cup made from coffee waste, a 3D printing technology called Vanguard, a calming stone, a baleage wrap made from natural, biodegradable products, a cot that brings the baby to the parent, a fish submarine, a searching propulsion vehicle to help the New Zealand Navy and a friendlier IV pole.


the Abovemarine from Adam Ben-Dror on Vimeo.

The New Zealand winner will win $4,000, a fee package from the Intellectual Property Office of NZ (IPONZ) and a membership to The Designers Institute.

All entries can be viewed at www.jamesdysonaward.org.

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