A global call for problem solvers: James Dyson begins his search for ingenious inventions

James Dyson Award

The James Dyson Award recently opened entries, giving students and recent graduates of engineering and design a unique opportunity to show their problem-solving inventions on a global stage. The brief is simple, design something which solves a problem, big or small. The international winner will gain global exposure through the competition, and Rs.26, 00,000 as prize money to develop their idea.

This is the second season for the award in the country. Last year, three Indian entries made it to the international top 20 shortlist, with Asish Mohandas, Creator, Maattam being recognised as the national winner for India in 2017.

Over the last fourteen years, the James Dyson Award has gained more and more international recognition, attracting outstanding ideas from across the globe. Ingenuity can be found anywhere. We want to support as many young inventors as we can. This year the annual competition will include entries from a further four nations: Mexico, UAE, Sweden and the Philippines; operating in a total of 27 nations.

Young engineers and designers have perspective and unbridled intelligence that makes them incredibly adept at problem-solving. Their ideas can easily be dismissed, but if nurtured and celebrated, they are transformative. Developing a product or technology is a long and daunting process; the James Dyson Award celebrates the inventive young people embarking on that process. The Award champions our next generation of inventors and will propel them towards future success. I am excited to see what surprising ideas this year’s award brings”, says James Dyson.

The competition recognises ingenious designers and engineers who challenge the status quo and do more with less. The best inventions are often the simplest, yet provide an intelligent solution to a real-world problem. Past winners have sought to tackle over-fishing, sustainability in the clothing industry and food waste. Last year’s International Award went to the sKan, a low-cost, early detection melanoma skin cancer device, engineered to prevent misdiagnosis. Previous to this, EcoHelmet, a fully foldable paper bike helmet designed for bike share programmes took the title. As technology advances and products become increasingly complex, we are seeing a shift towards the use of machine learning; robotics; and the fusing of software and hardware in the entries.

On their victory, the sKan team says, “Winning the James Dyson Award was an exciting and humbling opportunity. The media exposure we received around the world opened many doors for us. We’ve made connections with top experts and are continuing to learn from them so we can develop ‘The sKan’ to help solve the problems in today’s melanoma diagnosis process.”

 “The exposure and response I’ve received through the James Dyson Award has been incredible. It is indeed a great platform to provide solutions for genuine problems that can in-turn create a positive impact to the lives of people. Winning the award has provided me with the right encouragement to take this journey forward and has led me to pursue a fellowship focusing on medical product design at AIIMS. I look forward to realizing Maattam as a viable commercial product in the future, and the JDA platform has helped me connect with the right people and organisations towards achieving this. I believe this award will inspire more innovators of our country to solve real-life problems”, said Asish Mohandas, Creator, Maattam.


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