James McNab's Revival Vest has reached the end of the journey in the international James Dyson Awards, nabbing a more than respectable runner-up spot and £2,000 in prize money alongside The Beth Project, a self-adjusting limb concept from the US.
The Revival Vest – one of the top three entries in the national chapter of the competition – is a life jacket for divers, designed to self-inflate should the wearer lose consciousness or begin experiencing difficulties. (Read all about it in the next issue of Idealog, out December 10 – we've got the full story on McNab's creation.)
But it was pipped by the SafetyNet, a product to tackle the increasing problem of over fishing.
SafetyNet designer Dan Watson, a graduate of the British Royal College of Art, has engineered a series of escape rings for fish, which can be retrofitted to a fisherman’s trawler net.
After reading about the problem of overfishing, Watson began researching ways of tackling the issue. Nearly half of the fish caught are thrown back into the sea because they are not suitable to be sold, many don’t survive. SafetyNet provides an illuminated escape route to young, unmarketable fish, to prevent them being captured in the nets.
The rings exploit escape behaviours of fish. Small and medium fish swim up when stressed, whereas larger fish swim down. By exploiting this, the net only catches mature, non-endangered species.
“The escape rings are designed to be low maintenance. The rings are illuminated, acting in like an emergency exit sign for the fish. Water flowing through the wide open meshes guides smaller the fish to freedom while retaining the larger ones.”
More than 500 projects from 18 countries were judged by an international panel of engineers, designers, academics and design media over three months. The top 15 entries were judged by Sir James Dyson this month.
Since graduating, Watson has started a company, SafetyNet Technologies, to try and commercialise SafetyNet. He'll be using the £10,000 prize money to further develop a broad range of prototypes for SafetyNet and finalise government testing.