James Dyson Award 2021: three winners with world-improving inventions
BritneyMacDevitt 17-11-2021, 15:00
  • HOPES, A device for pain-free, at-home eye pressure testing, opeing up access to glaucoma testing, by students of the National University of Singapore.
  • Plastic Scanner, A low-cost, handheld device to identify plastic for recycling, by Jerry de Vos from TU Delft.
  • REACT, A device to stem bleeding to help save the lives of stabbing victims, by Joseph Bentley from Loughborough university.

HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 17 November 2021 - The James Dyson Award has now given nearly €1m in prize money to over 250 promising inventions from young engineers and scientists in 28 countries around the world. In 2021, the Award received a record number of entries worldwide and Sir James Dyson chose three global winners for the first time, each receiving €30,000 in prize money to support the next stages of their inventions.

James Dyson Award 2021: three winners with world-improving inventions

Precious Plastic, an organisation that aims to reduce plastic waste. Through his work for the organisation he has witnessed the negative impact of plastic pollution first-hand and the bottlenecks caused when plastic is not identified and sorted in the recycling process. Around the world, much of this process is done by hand which takes time and is prone to error. Jerry has seen successful technology used in large factories in the Netherlands where infrared reflections assist with the sorting. This is a vital step for ensuring it is recycled properly. Jerry's mission has been to make this technology available for everyone around the world so they can recycle better.

The Plastic Scanner uses near-infrared spectroscopy to detect types of plastic – a new and low-cost approach to traditional infrared spectroscopy. The Scanner is also uses open source GPL-v3 license, so anyone can assemble the breakout board and embed the electronics into a handheld device. Open source welcomes feedback and improvements from experts, so the project will continuously improve as more people recycle plastic around the world.

Jerry learnt that much plastic entering our oceans comes from low and middle-income countries. It is his mission to support recycling initiatives in these nations with the way he designed the low-cost and ease of use of the Plastic Scanner. During development, Jerry interviewed recyclers from India, Indonesia, Kenya and Curacao to ensure his model was suitable for end users.

Next steps

Jerry has gathered a team of friends specialising in embedded systems and machine learning to support his creation of new prototypes and pilot the Scanner in both industry and low resource contexts. Long-term his goal is to make the project sustain itself, with DIY versions of the Scanner, whilst enriching Open-source documentation to make it easier for others to get involved and contribute to his mission.

Medical winner – REACT, invented by Joseph Bentley

The problem

Knife crime is an issue in many countries around the world and last year, with rates of knife crime on the rise in almost all continents, particularly in countries with strict gun laws. In England and Wales alone, there were around 46,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument, which is the highest number of offences since the year ending March 2011James Dyson Award forms part of a wider commitment by Sir James Dyson, to demonstrate the power of engineers to change the world. The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, the James Dyson Foundation and James Dyson Award encourage aspiring engineers to apply their knowledge and discover new ways to improve lives through technology. Since the competition first opened in 2005, James and the James Dyson Foundation have donated over €135m to boundary-breaking concepts in education and other charitable causes. The Award has supported nearly 300 inventions with prize money.


· 2020 International winner – The Blue Box

Invented by 23-year-old Judit Giró Benet, The Blue Box is a new way to detect breast cancer, at-home, using a urine sample.

· 2020 Sustainbility winner – AuREUS

Invented by 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue, AuREUS is a new material, made from waste crop, which converts UV light into renewable energy. The Sustainability prize was newly created in 2020.

· 2019 International winner – Marina Tex

MarinaTex is a home compostable material designed as an alternative to single-use plastic films. The material is comprised of waste material from the fishing industry and sustainable algae.

· 2018 International winner – O-Wind Turbine

O-Wind Turbine is an omnidirectional wind turbine that can capture wind travelling in any direction, unlike conventional turbines. This allows it to be used in urban environments where wind flow is multi-directional.

· 2017 International winner – The sKan

The sKan is a low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device invented by a team of medical and bioengineering undergraduates from McMaster University, Canada. The team are currently using the prize money to refine their design to ensure it passes the US Food and Drug Administration standards.

· 2016 International winner – EcoHelmet

EcoHelmet is a foldable, paper bike helmet for bike shares. It uses a honeycomb configuration to protect the head from impact and folds completely flat when not in use. It is currently in product development stages.



https://www.healthxchange.sg/seniors/ageing-concerns/glaucoma-singapore-stats-risk-factors-prevention#:~:text=In Singapore%2C approximately three per,less than half this figure.





[10] Sugrue, M., Balogh, Z., Lynch, J., Bardsley, J., Sisson, G. and Weigelt, J. (2007). GUIDELINES FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF HAEMODYNAMICALLY STABLE PATIENTS WITH STAB WOUNDS TO THE ANTERIOR ABDOMEN. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 77(8), pp.614–620.


The brief. Design something that solves a problem. This problem may be a frustration that we all face in daily life, or a global issue. The important thing is that the solution is effective and demonstrates considered design thinking. Unlike other competitions, participants are given full autonomy over their intellectual property.


The process. Entries are judged first at the national level by a panel of external judges, before progressing to the international stage. A panel of Dyson engineers then select an international shortlist of 20 entries. The top 20 projects are then reviewed by Sir James Dyson who selects his global winners.


The 2021 prizes

  • The International winner receives a prize of £30,000, plus £5,000 for the winner's university.
  • The Sustainability winner and the Medical winner receive a prize of £30,000.
  • Each National winner receives £2,000.

How to enter. Candidates enter through an online application form via the James Dyson Award website. Entries open again on 16 March 2022. Entrants should concisely explain what their invention is, how it works, and their development process. The best entries solve a real problem, are clearly explained, show iterative development, provide evidence of physical prototyping and have supporting imagery and a video.