A buoyancy bazooka which could save hundreds of lives in the US has won this year's international James Dyson Award.
Longreach, chosen from a final shortlist of 15 by inventor James Dyson, shoots an emergency buoyancy aid up to nearly 500 feet out to sea. It is made of hydrophobic foam which rapidly expands upon hitting the water to protect the buoyancy aid from puncture. Equipped with flares for night-time illumination, Longreach allows the victim to remain buoyant for a longer period of time.
"Longreach is a smart solution to a very real problem. A product's functionality couldn't be more important when it's used to save someone's life," said James Dyson.
Each year over 3500 drowning deaths occur in the U.S., with more 150 due to swimmers being swept out by rip tides or currents.
Samuel Adeloju, an industrial design graduate from Sydney, will receive a $15,000 cash prize. His engineering faculty at the University of New South Wales will also receive $15,000. Samuel will also have the chance to visit Dyson's research, design and development center and learn more about its design process from Dyson engineers.
The inspiration for Longreach came from a military training session during Samuel's army reserve training, where weapons that propel grenades and flares were demonstrated.
"After learning about propulsion technology in grenade launchers, I had to find a chemical that would expand to forty times its size in just fifteen seconds upon hitting water. After four months of testing I found that hydrophobic foam worked and soon after the concept for Longreach was developed. Winning the James Dyson Award will give me the financial support to develop a prototype and carry on testing," said Samuel.
Samuel is already in talks with the Surf Life Saving Australia and Westpac Rescue - an aeromedical search and rescue service - to mass produce his invention.
2nd place - Sea Kettle
Kimberley Hoffman, from the Academy of Art University in California, designed the Sea Kettle, which uses natural sunlight to desalinate water in the emergency life raft.
Kimberley found inspiration from stories of people who suffer from dehydration while being stranded at sea. She thought that with water all around, there should be a way to turn salt water into safe drinking water.
"It is a very logical configuration which optimises the production of drinking water in a way which is easy for people to use," says James Dyson.
3rd place - Reax
Graduates from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern in Switzerland, Lars Imhof, 26, and Marc Binder, 27, developed the Reax.
More than 2500 Americans die from cardiovascular disease each day. This startling fact motivated Lars and Marc to design Reax.
CPR is physically strenuous and requires the paramedics' full time attention. By the clever use of pneumatic muscle technology the Reax design is able to compress the entire chest at regular intervals, and therefore allows the paramedic to perform more tasks.
"I was impressed by Lars' and Marc's use of prototypes and rigs during the design process. Each iteration brought them one step closer to the final design. A worthwhile invention which Paramedics could find invaluable," commented James Dyson.
Both runners up will visit Dyson's research, design and development center.