The 2012 Dyson Awards Shortlist Is Out, and Includes a Drone, an Air-Powered Bike, and a Human-Powered Washing Machine

By Sam Gibbs on at

This year's Dyson Awards features all sorts of wild and wonderful ideas. From a fish-saving net, to a life-saving drone that can patch you up if you get stranded in the middle of nowhere; hell, there's even a human-powered washing machine in the mix. Now we've got the top 15 finalists to ogle at (with three from the UK), from which the winner will be picked by James Dyson himself very soon.


Medical and Safety

Safety Net from the UK

Basically the idea is that this smart net helps us stop absolutely destroying fish stocks the world over by preventing the capture of fish too young or small to be taken to market. It uses kinetic energy to generate actual emergency 'exit signs' that guide the younguns out. Smart.


The Beth Project from the USA

The Beth Project aims to give disabled people the world over, but particularly in developing nations, a pain-free, cheap, light and self-adjusting prosthetic limb that'll actually last the distance.


Smart Aid from Austria

This drone bucks the trend, and instead of killing or spying on people, it hooks up to your smartphone to provide help or find help if you're stuck in a dangerous situation -- like getting lost in the middle of bloody nowhere with your leg split in two.


Fil’o from Singapore

The Fil'o is a watch that vibrates and alerts sleepy parents that their kid is crying, again. It's basically designed to help out those who suffer from hearing problems, or those that don't want the kid waking them up every second, but still want to be a responsible parent.


Alto from the UK

Alto is a sewing machine for the 21st century. It's designed to help out beginners, while being modern, sleek and attractive. I'd probably still butcher the stitches, but I'm sure someone with a little more homemaker's talent would love it.


Revival Vest from New Zealand

The Revival Vest is essentially a super-smart life jacket that monitors your vitals while under water. If you look like you're drowning, or blacked out, it'll inflate and hurl you to the surface. It's designed for free divers, but it looks awesome enough for any kind of potentially dangerous water sport (that's all of them, right?).


Emergency Airdrop from Germany

The Emergency Airdrop takes its cue from nature. It's essentially a parachute system that combines a cargo container, and acts like a sycamore seed to glide gracefully to the ground. It also looks awesome.



Reach and Match from the USA

Reach and Match is basically a toy to help blind and visually impaired children learn braille to set them up for life. It introduces kids to patterns, symbols and spatial awareness in a, probably, fun and exciting way.



GiraDora from the USA

The GiraDora is a human-powered washing machine and spin dryer that cuts hand-washing time down from about 60 minutes to just three to five minutes, plus it uses a third less water. Sounds genius to me.


O2 Pursuit from Austria

No, not that O2, we're talking about oxygen here. The O2 Pursuit is a motorbike that runs purely on compressed air, which is itself provided by solar or wind power. A truly zero-emission ride.


Balde a Balde from the USA

The Balde a Balde is a portable tap that eliminates the issue of transferring water from dirty bucket to dirty bucket in places that don't have running water. By removing that step, you decrease the potential for contamination and therefore help save lives.


Stephoe from the UK

The Stephoe is essentially a step that you hook onto your hoe, allowing you to shove the thing into the ground without killing your back. It's designed for farmers in developing countries, but honestly, it could be handy for the not-so-green-fingered back here in Blighty too.



Hop! from Spain

The Hop! is a suitcase that follows you around the airport, following signals from your mobile. It monitors your position and makes sure it doesn't crash into you, maintaining a constant distance behind you. Pack it with booze and it's basically a robot butler for your travels.


LOUIS from France

Louis is a special kind of concrete that you slap on the floor, which reacts to water to reveal fancy geometric patterns across its surface. No longer will your concrete streets be horrendously drab and grey when it chucks it down -- sounds like we need this pronto in Britain.


ReWired from Holland

ReWired is a movable ceiling light that you can shift across your room with a series of cables and pulleys. The idea is that if you need more light on the subject in a specific spot, you can just wheel the light across and spotlight it right on your noggin. It's been pitched for use in flexible living space, but honestly, I'd love this thing in my garage.

This week, we're celebrating the many facets of modern design on Gizmodo UK, with a design theme week. Bookmark this page for all related stories, features, interviews and competitions, or contact us here with tips.