Edward Linacre won this year's James Dyson Award, a high profile, international student design competition currently running in eighteen countries. Run by the James Dyson Foundation, the award aims to "encourage the next generation of design engineers to be creative, challenge and invent."
Ed's winning concept "Airdrop Irrigation" seeks to solve the problem of excess water evaporation in times of drought from plants and soil. Instead of tapping into underground aquifers and other finite water sources, Airdrop design concept cleverly harvests evaporated water moisture from the air - moisture that would otherwise be inaccessible to plants.
Solar panels are used to charge battery powered air turbines that draw heated air down into underground cooling towers. Once cooled, water in the air condenses and is collected in underground tanks before being pumped to plants via underground dripper pipes.
The Airdrop system also includes an LCD screen that displays tank water levels, pressure strength, solar battery life and overall system health.
"Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer's armory," commented James Dyson. "Airdrop shows how simple, natural principles like the condensation of water can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering. Young designers and engineers like Ed will develop the simple, effective technology of the future - they will tackle the world's biggest problems and improve lives in the process."
Ed will receive a 10,000 pound prize for his win, as does his university, Melbourne's Swinburne University.