It’s not all about bagless vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans and blow-the-skin-off-your-fingers hand dryers at Dyson. Each year, the iconic brand holds the James Dyson Award, an international student design and innovation competition which aims to find the most promising young inventors and potentially bring their concepts to life.
With just under a week left until the submission stage closes for the 2014 event, the judges will soon begin deliberating over local heat winners before an overall winner is picked on November 6th. Ahead of the unveiling of this year's best entrants, we thought we’d give you a look at 10 of the most promising entries submitted so far.
Stuck halfway up a snowy mountain with your leg hanging off, and nothing to secure it with? The Canalis Splint is a portable, foldable and reusable support for broken or injured limbs that is small enough to fit in a handbag. Lightweight, its modular design means it can easily be adapted to support different body parts that are injured, as well as being simple enough for someone who has never used it before to be able to apply it. Find out more here.
Pangaea Survival Suit
A bit like a Crysis suit for yachtsmen, the Pangaea is designed as an aid for sailors that have capsized or been forced overboard. Aiding floatation and keeping the wearer warmer than a standard wetsuit, it's equipped with a number of survival tools (including a knife, light and flares, all secured to the suit) and a back-pack life raft that deploys as the wearer hits the water. Click here for more info.
Suncayr Sun Protection Pen
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest, and Suncayr certainly could fall within that realm. A marker pen that's filled with UV-reactive ink, you use the pen to draw on your body a reminder to re-apply sunscreen. While the ink is first applied and covered in sunscreen, its colour denotes that you are protected from the burning rays of the sun. As your protection fades, the marker ink changes colour, letting you know that you need to re-apply. Second applications can be placed on top of the ink, which will then change back to its original colour, letting you know that you're protected once more. Learn more about the pen here.
MOM Portable Baby Incubator
Inflatable and portable, the MOM baby incubator could be a lifesaver in disaster zones and refugee camps where premature or vulnerable newborns may be days away from the medical attention they need. Providing stable heat and humidification levels as well as jaundice lighting, it can run off a car battery for 24 hours and, at £240, is a fraction of the cost of a standard £30,000 incubator. Learn more here.
GPS Navigation Stick for the Visually Impaired
Not every visually impaired person is lucky enough to have a faithful guide dog at their side. This Russian concept design would see the recogniseable white walking stick belonging to a blind person souped up to include satellite navigation with audio directions, and even echolocation sensors to help the user avoid obstacles. Click here for more info.
Wasp Modern Wheelchair
Giving the standard wheelchair a Professor X-like makeover, the WASP is transforming, electric powered chair that can be set to work in narrow confines, or stabilised for speedier travel. Foldable and lightweight, it makes full use of its carbon-composite body to provide the user with ample storage space. Find out more here.
Flipod Bed Flipper
Anyone that's had to spend an extended stretch either in hospital or ill in bed at home will know that, however well-intentioned your carers may be, they can't be at your call instantly whenever you need them. The Flipod is a pneumatic assistive body rotation device that performs CRLT using a gently-alternating airflow, relieving pressure on bed-bound body parts and helping to reduce the formation of bed sores. Find out more about the device here.
A "modular life capsule designed for disaster", think of the Life Ball as a panic room for the apocalypse. Made using easy-to-construct steel rods with a double-sheet steel plate exterior, the Life Ball includes room for four adults and storage space for provisions, first aid supplies, tools and even an oxygen capsule. A tracking beacon is installed inside, with Life Ball's creators claiming it would survive even if an entire building collapsed upon it. Check out this tough mutha here.
Shorvac Beach Cleaner
Composed of a sifting shovel and a robotic hexapod vacuum cleaner, the Shorvac can be used to clean up a littered beach with ease, and without disturbing the natural flora and fauna that should be seen on the shoreline. Mobile thanks to a six-legged robot that collects waste and follows you around, it is a rugged alternative to bulky beach cleaning equipment that's still capable of sifting out even smaller debris that would be harmful to the location. Learn more about the project here.
And finally, a fun one to round things off with. Moss FM is the culmination of research into biophilic technologies and processes, bringing a whole new meaning to the term "power plant". The world's first plant-powered radio, it takes the electrons produced by plants during photosynthesis and harnesses them in Photo Microbial Fuel Cells. These are then used to power a radio, built from scrap materials, as well as acting as an experimentation workstation to look into the potential for harvesting electricity from plantlife. Check it out here.