The winners of the 2022 James Dyson Award, which has given more than £1m in prize money to over 300 promising inventions from young engineers and scientists around the world, have just been announced. This year, Sir James Dyson has selected two global winners, each receiving £30,000, and one runner-up, receiving £5,000 in prize money, to support the next stages of their inventions.
Commenting on this year’s competition, Sir James Dyson said: “Every year, the James Dyson Award offers proof that young people are passionate about improving the planet and solving environmental and medical problems. There are people who grandstand over the issues they care about, but these young inventors are doing something more productive. They are diligently applying themselves to problem-solving using engineering, science and ingenious design.”
International Winner 2022
The International winner for this year’s award was SmartHEAL, invented by Tomasz Raczyński, Dominik Baraniecki and Piotr Walter. The problem they looked to solve with this was, when covered by a dressing, it is very hard to know how well a wound is healing. The most common mistake in wound healing is changing the dressing too often, which can lead to infections and tissue disruption.
Current methods of assessing a wound rely on subjective scoring of colour, smell, temperature – or expensive laboratory biochemical tests. Poor wound healing not only leads to tissue inflammation, but also necrosis (death of body tissue that is irreversible), and can lead to severe illness or death.
SmartHEAL is a precise, affordable and scalable smart pH sensor for dressings. By using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) communication systems and monitoring the pH of a wound, SmartHEAL can assess the wound’s condition and detect infection without removing the dressing, and therefore without disrupting the tissue.
“We’ve all nervously peeled back a dressing or plaster to see what is happening underneath. SmartHEAL, a smart dressing, has won the International James Dyson Award because it provides doctors and patients with a key piece of data – the pH level – that can tell them how a wound is healing. This can improve treatment and prevent infection, saving lives. I hope the Award will give the team impetus to proceed down the tricky path towards commercialisation.” – Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson.
The next steps for the team is to finish their testing and then start clinical trials. Their aim is to then finish the certification process in three years’ time so they can start to distribute and sell SmartHEAL dressings in 2025.
Speaking about their win, the SmartHEAL team said: “We are super excited to be the International Winners of the James Dyson Award this year! This is and will be a great opportunity for us to become a part of something bigger, something that hopefully can change the world. We strive to refine our prototype, obtain a patent and pass the necessary clinical trials to commercialise SmartHEAL.”
Sustainability Award Winner 2022
Next, the winner of the Sustainability Award was Polyformer, invented by Swaleh Owais and Reiten Cheng. While working at a makerspace in Rwanda, they both learned that many locals could not use the makerspace’s 3D printers, due to the high price of importing filament to the country. They also observed the lack of infrastructure to recycle plastic bottles in Rwanda.
To help remedy this, Swaleh and Reiten created Polyformer, a low-cost machine that turns plastic bottles into 3D printer filament. Polyformer cuts plastic bottles into long strips that are fed into an extruder. The strip is then thermoformed into 1.75mm filament, as it goes through a nozzle. The filament is passed through vents to cool the plastic before it is wrapped around a spool, ready to be inserted into a 3D printer.
“By turning used plastic bottles into 3D printer filament, Polyformer helps reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and provides a cheap and plentiful material for engineers and designers, especially in developing countries. Their idea will provide new opportunities for other inventors to prototype their ideas using 3D printing.” – Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson.
Currently, Swaleh and Reiten are building new Polyformers to deploy at their partner makerspaces in Rwanda and they are designing new inventions within the Polyformer project, such as the Polyjoiner, Polydryer, Polyspooler, and many more.
Swaleh and Reiten said, “It is a great honor to be the James Dyson Award 2022 Sustainability winner. We are using the prize money to deploy several Polyformers and Polyformer-Lites at our partner makerspaces in Rwanda. With these machines, local students, designers, and makers in Rwanda will have access to low-cost 3D printer filament. This means they can use their community’s 3D printers more frequently!
International Runner Up 2022
Finally, the International runner up was Ivvy, invented by Charlotte Blancke, who became aware that a colleague of her mother was unhappy about the uncomfortable apparatus her child was required to use for her medical treatment. The colleague mentioned that she in fact switched an intravenous pole for a coat hanger to improve her daughter’s comfort.
During Charlotte’s research, she found that at-home medical treatment is rising, but the equipment used for at-home intravenous therapies is the same as that in hospitals, despite the characteristics of a home setting being different. As more patients move to home healthcare services for recuperation or long-term care, complex medical devices are now used more frequently in the home, often under unsuitable conditions.
Ivvy was created to replace the current intravenous drip pole with a wearable device that provides patients with optimal mobility, an easy-to-use infusion pump, and on-board software so nurses can monitor their patients remotely.
Currently, there is a lack of feedback about intravenous treatments and existing infusion pumps have a complex interface. Charlotte has developed an infusion pump with a simplified interface and intuitive use. Nurses can easily set up the treatment at-home and patients can follow their therapy through a LED strip, display, and sound notifications.
“Being treated with an old-fashioned IV drip on a tall stand can make home seem like a hospital. Ivvy is a simple concept that could improve people’s treatment and enhance their quality of life. It shows the brilliance of simple design and I wish Charlotte every success in developing her idea towards commercialisation.” – Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson.