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2012 James Dyson Award winner announced


November 7, 2012

Dan Watson's SafetyNet, which lets juvenile and non-target fish escape commercial fishing nets, has taken out the 2012 James Dyson Award

Dan Watson's SafetyNet, which lets juvenile and non-target fish escape commercial fishing nets, has taken out the 2012 James Dyson Award

For the past month, the judges have been casting a discerning eye over the 15 finalists of the 2012 James Dyson Award and they’ve now made what no doubt was a difficult decision. Taking out the major prize is Dan Watson, who will receive £10,000 (US$16,000) for his SafetyNet system that tackles the problem of overfishing by providing escape exits for juvenile and non-target fish caught up in commercial fishing nets.

Watson is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in the U.K, which will also receive £10,000 (US$16,000) as a result of him taking the top honors. Since graduating, Watson has started a company to commercialize his idea, called SafetyNet Technologies. He plans to use the cash prize to develop a range of prototypes and finalize government testing of his design.

In awarding the prize, James Dyson said, “This tangible technology approaches a serious environmental problem, we should celebrate it. SafetyNet shows how young graduates like Dan can tackle global issues ignored by established industries in new and inventive ways.”

The two runners up, each of who will take home £2,000 (US$3,194), were the BETH Project from the USA, which is a low-cost, self-adjusting prosthetic limb aimed at the developing world, and the Revival Vest from New Zealand, which uses smart fabric technology to monitor for the changes in a diver’s body that occur when drowning and brings them safely to the surface.

Details of the SafetyNet, BETH Project and Revival Vest, along with the other 12 finalists, can be seen in our previous story showcasing the 15 finalists of the 2012 James Dyson Award.

Source: James Dyson Award

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Stolen Idea.

This was entered into a competition 3-4 years ago for a plastics competition by a Northumbria University student. The exact same solution and methods used. Dyson Award really should look at peoples work to see what's original or not.

Mark Penver

It has been used in the crabbing industry for decades. Small plastic rings inserted into the crab traps/pots with a 2-3/4-inch inside diameter to allow undersized crabs to escape. Mandated by law in most fisheries along in the East Coast of the US.


"Stolen idea"? Idea's are a dime a dozen. ie: Worthless A plan is worth a dollar. Execution is where the money is at.

Dan Watson is at the execution end of this story.

Paul Brush

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea of a fishing net to be used with the mesh dimension appropriate for the fish species you're fishing?? In other words, adding "exit holes" in a net just proves that the net used in the first place has a too narrow mesh. Just saying...

Forest Fab

Isn't it $16,200? Anyway, the prize money is besides the point. Its about recognition, discovering current possible collaborators. Yes, contests can be a rip off. Sometimes it works, just like inventions!

Ruth Vallejos

Forest Fab I`m not entirely sure, but assuming the sea current motion and general fluidity of the net, unless the mesh size is particularly large, all the movement in the net itself would largely diminish the chances for smaller fish to escape. Having these ring-like exit holes would provide an exit channel that retains its spacing.

Miyazaki Wataru

The Revival Vest sounds good.

Dan Barkley
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