Innovative tree cutter wins graduate a trip to Britain for Dyson Award
THE JAMES DYSON AWARD
A tree-harvesting device has won the New Zealand division of the 12th annual James Dyson Award, one of the major international product design competitions.
Harvesting methods currently require return visits to a forest, causing soil erosion and damage to surrounding trees.
Nick Ross, an industrial design graduate from Massey University, has devised a solution that cuts trees right from ground level, and feeds them straight into the machine.
An extraction process is then engaged to return needles back to the soil for nutrients, while the branches gathered in a separate container can be re-used as an alternative energy fuel.
The judges were unanimous in their decision. David Lovegrove, member of the Designers Institute and the award’s head judge said: “This design is the best research project we’ve seen from the New Zealand entries because Nick has not only produced a beautiful, well-resolved design, but he has gone a step further and widely engaged with the international forestry industry.
“He didn’t set out to design a tree harvester. He approached the design with the simple question, how do you grow trees better? So we were encouraged to see sustainability was a core motivation in the product’s development, and during the design process,” he said.
Mr Ross will travel to the UK with $3000 for expenses and accommodation, courtesy of British Council New Zealand, and meet with other key members of the UK design community.
He can also select an official fee prize package from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand tailored to his design’s intellectual property needs and will get $3000 worth of legal advice from Farry.Co Law, a Dyson handheld cleaner and a year’s membership to the Designer’s Institute.
Axolotyl will progress to compete against designs from the 18 other participating countries in the awards. The international winner will be selected by James Dyson and announced on November 18.
There were two runner-up awards, one going to Nick Marks for his PressureAID device and James McNab for his revival jacket.
Mr Marks saw that hearing aid users were often unable to participate in water activities, in which water could enter their inner-ear through grommets as it can cause infection.
He developed PressureAID which is a waterproof ear device for the hearing impaired, and aims to improve sound and give children and adults an opportunity to enter the water and enjoy swimming and other water sport.
The device is designed to be worn inside the ear. When the ear is submerged a bubble of air inside the device is compressed, creating a water-tight seal in the ear canal, preventing water from entering.
“Because the device is worn just inside the ear like small headphones, they don’t look like conventional hearing aids which aren’t discreet.
"As a kid, I was bullied for wearing the old-fashioned aids so in the end I chose not to wear them and make-do with limited sound,” says Mr Marks, a 23-year-old design graduate from Massey University.
Mr Lovegrove said judges were impressed.
“His design could also break down the stigma of wearing hearing aids due to its decorative effect and aesthetic appeal. The product will appeal not only to older adults who could wear the device in the shower, but for children prone to ear infections.”
Mr McNab’s revival vest uses smart fabric technology to monitor the breathing patterns of the diver to assess whether they are in danger of drowning. If the user blacks out, the jacket is triggered to inflate and bring the diver to the surface in an upright safety position ready for resuscitation.
The 22-year-old Victoria University graduate says his design was motivated by the death of a friend from a shallow-water blackout during free diving.
Mr Lovegrove said the judges were excited by the vest’s well-resolved design and its potential uses in other water sports.
The international award winner will receive £10,000 (for the student or the team) and £10,000 for the winner’s university department.
Runners-up get £2000 each.
The award is run by the James Dyson Foundation, a registered charity with the aim of supporting design, technology and engineering education, medical research charities and local community projects
All entries can be viewed on www.jamesdysonaward.org