James Dyson Award shortlist announced

AMO Arm
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Airdrop Irrigation
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Blindspot
AMO Arm
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Of the 550 entries for this annual competition, the top 15 have been revealed. We look at three projects contending for the top spot – including one by Canadians Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires.

“Design something that solves a problem.” This is the ‘s sole criterion.

Yesterday, the annual competition, boasting entries from 18 countries, released its , comprising a wide range of projects. The winning team will receive $16,000 and another $16,000 towards their university department.

Designed by Toronto’s Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires, one of the finalists – the – is a prosthetic limb controlled by brain signals. While the design seems supremely sci-fi, the duo says the device’s inner workings are simple. The user puts on a headset that measures brain waves and a computer translates them into movements. AMO Arm presents an alternative to muscle re-innervation, which is a costly, lengthy and invasive surgery.

A finalist from Australia, helps in periods of severe drought by extracting moisture from the air and feeding it into the soil. Designed by Edward Linnacre, the irrigation system employs a turbine to direct air underground through a series of pipes that rapidly cool to  produce condensation. The water is then stored in subterranean tanks where it can be pumped to the roots of crops.

– a project from recent graduate Selene Chew of Singapore – consists of a sleek white cane and a Bluetooth earpiece that helps visually impaired people locate their friends. By using a geo-based social app like Foursquare, connected to the Bluetooth, a person can locate her friends’ whereabouts and be guided by a tactile GPS navigator on the cane’s handle.

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