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Calling for engineers and designers – 2012 JDA

by Alan Dexter, alandexter@theborneopost.com. Posted on May 12, 2012, Saturday

PROBLEM SOLVING:According to Choong this year, the 2012 JDA is calling all young designers and engineers to be bold and innovative, think differently and challenge themselves.

KUCHING: This year, the 2012 James Dyson Award (JDA) is calling all young designers and engineers to be bold and innovative, think differently and challenge themselves. In brief, the award calls them to develop a problem solving invention.

Recently, two representatives from the James Dyson Foundation, Rachel Choong and Mohd Fairuz Salleh arrived at a local private university to give a lecture to students.

The lecture was to create awareness among young engineers and designers on what it takes to be a problem solver and invite them to participate in the JDA.

The JDA is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It is run globally by the James Dyson Foundation, the James Dyson’s charitable trust as part of its mission to inspire young people about design engineering.

Choong said that the JDA was presented to the students whose work best demonstrated the ability to think differently and create a much needed product that worked better. An international panel of judges would be looking at the projects that demonstrated a significant and practical purpose, offering real benefits to end users.

Judges would also be looking for a project that was designed with sustainability in mind and ideally a working prototype that was commercially viable.

Elaborating on the benefits, she said, the international winner and the university department would each receive 10,000 pounds (RM48,000). Two runners-up would receive 2,000 pounds (RM9,600) and a national winner in each country would be awarded 1,000 pounds.

On another note, Choong said that, “The patents of the participants’ designs will not be kept by the foundation, as it belonged to the young designers and inventors that participated.”

Last year’s winner was Edward Linacre from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, with an invention called the ‘AirDrop’. It was inspired by the Namib beetle, which lives in the driest place on earth. With half an inch of rain per year, the beetle survives by consuming the dew it collects on the hydrophilic skin of its back in the early mornings.

‘AirDrop’ borrows this concept, thus working on the principle that even the driest air contains water molecules which can be extracted by lowering the air’s temperature to the point of condensation. It pumps air though a network of underground pipes, to cool it to the point at which the water condenses, delivering water directly to the roots of plants.

Another invention was the Rabbit Ray, a medical device for health workers to use when communicating with children on medical procedures which in 2011 JDA was one of the international top 20 finalists.

Esther Wang, the inventor, now runs a yet to be named start-up company. She also won a grant of S$15,000 from the Business Incubator Competition by Ideas Inc to further develop Rabbit Ray and other related dolls.

The 2011 Malaysian national winners, Dinesh Selvamurthy, Alexander Gunjau Fowler, Malcolm Chan Hao Xian and Chang Wei Wen invented the Rapid Energy Deployment System (REDS). It was a mobile solar-diesel hybrid energy system designed for relief works in remote disaster areas for quick solution for reliable energy supply.

Mohd Fairuz, an acoustic and vibration engineer for Dyson said, ”Even if you have a good invention that works, you still need to make it better and make improvements towards the design to make it work perfectly.

“We want inventors not to give up easily on their ideas. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb said that he had not failed but had found 10,000 ways that didn’t work. So don’t give up,” he continued.

The 2012 JDA is open to product design, industrial and engineering students from countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, UK and US.

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