A portable solar cooker, a skin printer, a standing «wheelchair» and a biodegradable fishing net. These are some of the ingenious technology projects that have passed the first selection phase of the 2014 James Dyson Awards.
Its creators accepted the challenge of the contest to «design something that solves a problem.»
The international competition, organized by the James Dyson Foundation, was open to current and recent engineering students.
In this year’s edition, the demo of the contest, more than 600 projects from 18 countries participated.
Here are 5 of the shortlisted inventions, which will compete alongside others for the top prize of US $ 45,000, which will be announced on November 6.
Mima, a non-intrusive hive inspector, from Germany
This project allows you to inspect the state of a hive without having to open it.
The measuring instrument is inserted into the hive, and then a pneumatic system allows the beekeeper to select a single bee, which can be examined in advance individually.
This proposal minimizes the alteration of the hive climate and reduces the risk that other bees will stop working.
Its creators believe that Mima technology could be used to understand the increase in collapses of bee colonies, considered of vital importance for the environment.
Skin 3D Printer, Print Alive Bio Printer, from Canada
This project consists of the 3D printing of a complex tissue structure that mimics the layers of the dermis and epidermis of human skin.
These impressions, according to their creators, could be used to close the wounds of seriously burned patients.
The machine works by putting two types of human cells layer by layer on a hydrogel to create the required pattern.
According to the designers, the tests done so far suggest that the printed «skin» can help reduce the time that doctors need to wait before trying to graft real skin from another part of the body.
Solari, a portable solar cooker, from Italy
The engineering team made this proposal as an ecological alternative to barbecue grills and camping stoves, for cooking outdoors.
The portable contraption is designed to heat food for a group of four to six people for several hours using solar energy.
It works by letting light pass through its transparent cover, which then passes through a lens that redirects it around an aluminum shell.
The design also incorporates a temperature calibrator that with an application transmits information about the progress of the food to a smartphone.
Remora, a biodegradable fishing net, from Spain
The project engineers added an additive to the network that makes it begin to biodegrade at 4 years, at the end of its useful life, to combat the problem of «ghost networks» that are lost or abandoned at sea. affecting the marine ecosystem.
The Rémora system also incorporates labels with RFID technology, Radio Frequency Identification, an RFID reader and an application for smartphones.
Thus, fishermen can obtain a report when the net is damaged.
When the networks are collected, the application shows which parts are missing and where it must intervene to solve serious incidents, instead of searching manually.
In addition, if pieces of the net remain in the sea, they can be collected or the coordinates of their loss declared, to facilitate the work of net recycling organizations such as Healthy Seas Org.
Qolo, a standing «wheelchair» from Japan
It is a vehicle for people with disabilities in the lower extremities that allows them to move both sitting and standing, as well as to alternate between both positions.
Rather than relying on a very expensive or heavy motor, these machines use the movement of the user’s upper body to transfer them from one position to another.
Qolo uses a similar mechanism to generate movement: by leaning the upper body forward they move forward. In the same way, if they turn their body to one side, the vehicle also goes in that direction.
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