A Tauranga student studying at Victoria University has invented a self-inflating life jacket for divers.
James McNab, 22, has designed the Revival Vest to recognise physiological changes in the wearer - such as drowning - to self-inflate.
Made from smart fabric technology capable of monitoring respiration, the vest detects changes in the diver’s chest circumference, evident in divers experiencing breathing difficulty.
If the wearer blacks out, the body becomes limp and the vest is triggered to inflate.
James says his design was motivated by the death of a friend from a shallow-water blackout during free diving.
“With little or no safety equipment available to free divers, shallow-water blackout is something that can happen to even the most experienced divers and can occur without warning,” says James.
James’ design and two others have been announced as finalists in the annual James Dyson Award.
David Lovegrove, the award’s head judge and professional member of the Designers Institute of NZ, says James’ product, and the two other finalist products are diverse, yet they all demonstrate the design principles of the award’s founder Sir James Dyson; to create commercially viable products that solve a problem.
The prestigious international design award recognises the next generation of emerging Kiwi product designers who have developed inventions that are innovative and inspire solutions to everyday problems.
The national winner will travel to the UK and meet with London’s top product and design companies. They will earn a $3000 cash prize for travel, plus a fee package from the Intellectual Property Office of NZ (IPONZ), $3000 of legal fees from Farry.Co and a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Now in the twelfth year, the James Dyson Award is open to final year tertiary students studying in the areas of design, technology or engineering, and to graduates in these areas who are in their first four years of work.
Ten New Zealand entries, including the three national finalists, will progress to online judging in the international James Dyson Award competition.
The global James Dyson Award winner will be announced in November 2012 and together with their university, they will win a total prize fund of £20,000 or local currency equivalent.
The James Dyson Award is supported by the James Dyson Foundation (JDF), a registered charity whose aim is to inspire and excite young people about design engineering.
The winning New Zealand entry will be unveiled at a ceremony to be held in Auckland on Thursday, 16 August. Entries can be viewed on www.jamesdysonaward.org