The international finalists for the James Dyson Award for innovative new technology have been announced.
Judges have selected finalists from 18 different countries around the world. They now go through to a grand final where the overall winner will be announced and presented with £10,000 for themselves and £10,000 for their university.
The UK leg has been won by an invention which uses ultraviolet light inside a bottle to sterilise water. The Pure bottle, invented by Loughborough University graduate Timothy Whitehead, eliminates the need for purifying tablets. Instead of the 30 minutes taken by adding iodine or chlorine, the Pure bottle takes just two minutes to kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
An outer chamber of the bottle is filled with dirty water from a lake, stream or puddle. The inner chamber plunges through the outer chamber, filtering water particles as small as four microns. Once the water is clear of sediment, it is sterilised for 90 seconds using a wind-up ultra violet bulb.
Whitehead came up with the idea while travelling through Zambia.
Matthew Harrison, Professor at the Royal Academy of Engineering and a member of the judging panel, said: “‘Pure’ provides a practical solution to a real problem – how to get clean drinking water in the most hostile of conditions. It has the potential to make a real difference to people’s lives which is what good design should be able to do. The design is intuitive – the designer went beyond a simple prototype to prove that it works through a range of tests.”
Finalists from other countries include a life boat from Austria that can be transported by plane and land on water safely with the crew inside; a bin that decomposes organic waste quickly from Switzerland; and an Australian light and fast car that can drive through rugged terrain and penetrate a fire.
The overall winner will be announced by James Dyson on Tuesday October 5. Last year’s runner up is now working in Dyson’s R&D team.
Dyson recently announced that it is initiating a recruitment drive to employ 350 more engineers at its research facility in Malmesbury, although company director Richard Needham recently highlighted a skills shortage when he told a NatWest Business Knowledge Seminar that out of 90 interviewees only 11 were deemed even potentially capable of carrying out the job.