Create something that solves a problem. That’s the deceptively simple challenge that, every year since 2007, the James Dyson Award has presented the world’s engineers, inventors and designers.
This year’s winners, chosen in three categories, each took home £30 000 (about R700 000) to support the next stages of their inventions. Poland’s Piotr Tłuszcz was awarded the Humanitarian prize for the Life Chariot, an off-road trailer-ambulance for universal towing that has been used by medics in Ukraine; a team of student inventors from Hongik University in Seoul won the International award for the Golden Capsule, a hands-free IV device; and the Sustainability prize went to E-COATING, a cooling solution that recycles glass bottles, invented by Hoi Fung Ronaldo Chan and Can Jovial Xiao.
The Life Chariot was a response to Russian aggression in Ukraine in 2022. As young inventor Piotr Tłuszcz watched the conflict unfold, he noted the challenges of medical evacuations across challenging terrain, and invented a medevac off-road ambulance that can attach to any hook-equipped vehicle. The trailer is lightweight, with a low suspension, and increases the evacuation capabilities of rescue teams by adding room for one injured person on a stretcher and two seats for medics or the lightly wounded.
Yujin Chae, Daeyeon Kim, Yeonghwan Shin and Yuan Bai’s Golden Capsule was designed in the wake of the Turkish–Syrian earthquake, when medics had to move through harsh environments while holding up intravenous (IV) fluid packs for their patients. Usually, an IV bag is hung or held above a patient at a specific height, so that gravity creates the desired flow pressure and rate, but the Golden Capsule, which consists of a transparent shell and a medicine-filled balloon, can be used to inject drugs into patients using elastic forces and pressure differences, without the need to ensure a height difference for gravity.
In Hong Kong, air-conditioning accounts for 31% of total electricity consumption, while over 470 000 glass bottles end up in landfills every day. E-COATING is an eco-friendly solution designed to tackle these two problems at once. The roof and exterior wall coating, which is created from recycled waste glass, reflects the sun’s rays to reduce heat absorption and electricity consumption.
‘Rather than grandstanding about the problems we face, these young inventors are getting on and solving them with technology and design,’ said Sir James Dyson about the winners. ‘It’s their passion and determination to improve the world that makes them so impressive, and I hope the award will give them a springboard to success.’