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Dyson calls on budding designers, engineers and inventors

If you're a design or engineering student – or within four years of graduation – here's a bit of news that might interest.

2012 registrations for the long-running James Dyson Award open today, with both fame and fortune part of the dangling carrot.

The award, which is co-funded by the British Council NZ, challenges young engineers and designers to develop problem-solving inventions.

Previous winners have tackled problems ranging from a buoyancy aid inspired by a grenade launcher to a kitchen tap which can tackle a fire in the home.

Massey University grad Nicholas Couch nabbed the national award last year with a shoe designed for barefoot running. The design (pictured) was aimed at encouraging newbie runners and to encourage the foot to move more naturally, thereby reducing injury. He believes his shoe design is the only barefoot-style design that features replaceable and recyclable parts.

Designers have until August 2 to submit footage, images and sketches of their ideas, along with stories detailing their design process and inspiration.

The New Zealand James Dyson Award winner will receive:

  • Return airfares to the UK, NZD$3,000 spending money and accommodation in London.
  • Meetings with top UK design companies and a visit to Dyson’s London office.
  • $3,000 legal or business advice from Auckland firm Farry.Co.
  • An official fee prize package from IPONZ tailored to the winner’s immediate intellectual property needs.
  • A year’s membership to the Designers Institute of New Zealand.

All New Zealand entries will also qualify for the international James Dyson Award, with £10,000 going to the winning student or team, another £10,000 to the current or former student’s university department.

British Council country director, Ingrid Leary, said the winning entry would need to stand out from the rest in terms of its ability to sell local ingenuity at an international level.

“While judges will be looking at design skills, the entrant’s ability to articulate their vision and creativity will also be an important of the judging criteria."

James Dyson, the British inventor who designed the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner, the Dyson bladeless fan, and the Dyson Airblade hand dryer that can dry hands in 10 seconds, reckons young people have an unsullied view of the world.

“Budding engineers and designers can use their fresh perspective to develop wonderfully simple solutions to baffling problems. Original ideas and rigorously engineered projects will attract the attention of the judges. I challenge applicants to think big and use the award as a springboard for your idea.”

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