Innovative trio acknowledged by James Dyson Award

A pain-free home glaucoma test, a handheld scanner to identify plastics for recycling, and a device to stem blood from knife wounds have all been named winner of the James Dyson Award.

The three winners will each receive £30,000 to support the development of their inventions.

Students Kelu Yu, Si Li and David Lee from the National University of Singapore received their award for HOPES (Home eye Pressure E-skin Sensor), a wearable biomedical device for pain-free, low cost, at-home Intraocular Pressure (IOP) testing, which in clinical settings is a vital tool in helping doctors determine long-term treatment for glaucoma.

Powered by patent-pending sensor technology and AI, HOPES is described as ‘a convenient device for users to frequently self-monitor IOP.’

(Image: NUS/Dyson)

In use, the patient creates a profile in an App and then wears the HOPES glove with the sensor placed at the fingertip which is pressed against the centre of the eyelid. The fingertip is said to employ a unique sensor architecture that ‘captures dynamic pressure information of the user’s eye with sub-millisecond precision’. The captured signals are processed by machine learning algorithms to continuously and accurately compute users’ IOP.

Data is transmitted via Bluetooth to paired devices or uploaded to the cloud and accessed by doctors. The app prompts users with simple measurement history and links them to healthcare facilities where they can seek medical help to minimise future symptoms.

“Their work has the potential to make glaucoma testing much more widely available and I wish them every success as they navigate the challenging process of further development and medical approvals,” said Sir James Dyson, founder and chief engineer at Dyson.

In the Netherlands, Jerry de Vos developed Plastic Scanner for his final year project as an industrial and product design student at TU Delft.

When held against plastic the scanner informs the user what materials it’s made from, using infrared light to detect the plastic components.

The scanner has been designed to allow more plastics to be reused rather than be sent to landfill. It uses discrete infrared light to detect types of plastic, which is described as ‘a new and low-cost approach to traditional infrared spectroscopy’.

(Image: TU Delft/Dyson)

Designed for use in low- and middle-income countries, Plastic Scanner is an open-source device, which will allow anyone to assemble the breakout board and embed the electronics into a handheld device.

“By improving its quality and making it intuitive to replicate, I hope to enable anyone to identify and sort plastic properly, overcoming one of the most complex barriers to recycle plastic anywhere around the world,” de Vos said.

The third recipient, Joseph Bentley, has developed REACT (Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade), a device that aims to reduce catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound.

Designed for use by first responders, REACT – comprised of a medical-grade silicone sleeve (the tamponade) and a handheld actuator – is intended for open wounds.

As previously reported in The Engineer, the first responder would be first required to insert the tamponade into the wound. They would then connect the actuator to the tamponade via a valve and select on the device the area of the body where the wound is located. The actuator would then inflate to a defined pressure based on the wound location, preventing internal bleeding.

James Dyson Award
The components of REACT (Image: Loughborough University)

Bentley, who designed REACT whilst a final year Product Design and Technology student at Loughborough University, said: “The REACT system has the potential to be a life-saving tool in the fight against knife-crime, but the development of medical devices is a long and challenging process.

“The recognition and funding provided by the James Dyson Award has given me the determination and confidence to develop the REACT system and getting it into the hands of first responders as soon as possible.”

“Commercialising an idea is very hard – I hope that the awareness that the Award drives, as well as the financial support it provides, will give these ideas a springboard to success,” said Dyson.