The 2020 Dyson Awards have gone to a urine test for breast cancer and a waste crop material that converts UV light into renewable energy.
This year marks the first occasion that a Sustainability Award has been included alongside the established International Award, with both winners receiving £30,000 to further develop their products.
The inaugural prize for green tech was won by 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue from the Philippines. His AuREUS System Technology is a UV-harvesting material made from fruit and vegetable waste, which could be integrated into building facades or even clothing to harness solar energy. Carvey first entered his invention for the Dyson prize back in 2018 without success but has now refined it into award-winning technology.
“Winning the James Dyson Award is both a beginning and an end,” said Carvey. “It marked the end of years of doubting whether my idea would find global relevance. It marks the beginning of the journey of finally bringing AuREUS to the world. I want to create a better form of renewable energy that uses the world’s natural resources, is close to people’s lives, forging achievable paths and rallying towards a sustainable and regenerative future.”
Meanwhile, the International Dyson Award was won by The Blue Box, a home-testing platform for detecting breast cancer. Created by 23-year old Judit Giró Benet from Spain, it was inspired by dogs that are capable of sniffing out cancer with incredible accuracy.
Using this principle, Judit built a sensing platform that seeks out the same cancer-related compounds the dogs smell. Data from the box is analysed by a cloud-based AI algorithm that evolves with every test and is claimed to be 95 per cent accurate. As a reminder of just how big an issue breast cancer is, Judit’s mother was actually diagnosed with the disease while The Blue Box was in development.
“The Blue Box has the potential to make cancer screening a part of daily life,” said Judit. “It can help to change the way society fights breast cancer to ensure that more women can avoid an advanced diagnosis. The day that James Dyson told me that I had won the International prize was a real turning point as the prize money will allow me to patent more extensively and expedite research and software development I am doing at the University of California Irvine. But, most of all, hearing that he believes in my idea has given me the confidence I need at this vital point.”
Commenting on the two winners, Sir James Dyson said: “We have observed a growing number of ideas for healthcare and improving sustainability, and it seemed invidious to choose between such noble ideas, so we created two prizes this year, to support two equally worthy inventions. Judit and Carvey are highly impressive individuals who have made significant breakthroughs, I hope that they can use the James Dyson Award as a springboard to future success.”
Two runners up for the 2020 Dyson Awards were also named alongside the winners:
The Tyre Collective, a device developed by students at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art that captures tyre-wear particles at the wheel of a vehicle which can be recycled for future applications.
Scope, a new lens using liquid crystals that enables a lossless camera zoom. It was created by students at the University of Waterloo in Canada.