The wait is almost over. From close to 500 entries representing 18 countries, the judges in this year's James Dyson Award competition are now pawing over the final 15 projects. Amongst the finalists are reader favorites as well as projects not yet featured in Gizmag. So, let's take one last look at all of the designs that have impressed the panel of experts, ahead of the winner being announced in early October.
The overall international winner of this year's James Dyson Award competition will be awarded GBP10,000 (US$15,470 at the time of writing) in prize money and a visit to a Dyson research and development center in either the UK or Malaysia. If the winner belongs to a university, then the department to which they belong will also receive GBP10,000.
Without further ado, and in no particular order of preference, this year's finalists are...
The Tablet Seed
Japan's Tablet Seed aims to make home vegetable cultivation as easy as possible by surrounding a foursome of seeds in a fertilizer coat and shaping the food parcel like a pill. The would-be horticulturalist simply plants the tablet in some available ground and waits for the bumper crop to appear.
The Wanderest by Nichola Trudgen
New Zealand's Trudgen says that the Wanderest was "designed to allow elderly people who need light exercise to stay healthy, break up their walks into manageable lamp post-to-lamp post distances." It's already taken a prize at the 2009 International Design Awards and been on show at the 2010 Imm Cologne Furniture Fair. More of the designer's work can be seen at her website.
The Copenhagen Wheel
Already a favorite with readers, MIT's Copenhagen Wheel electric hub was designed to give just about any ordinary bicycle electric assist. Of course, as you might expect from MIT, there's a lot more to this design than a big red disk in the middle of the back wheel - an array of sensors provide the rider with information relating the surroundings and can even inform owners if any friends are in the locale.
SeaKettle life raft
Another popular design is Kim Hoffman's SeaKettle life raft. As well as giving shelter from the cruel sea, this innovative raft also includes its own desalination plant that turns sea water into something drinkable.
Pure UV sterilization water bottle
Inspired by a trip through Zambia, where Timothy Whitehead saw the locals relying on chlorine and iodine tablets to cleanse water, he decided that there must be an easier and faster way of making water safe to drink. The Pure water bottle combines a filter and wind-up UV sterilization to make water safe to drink in a fraction of the time taken using tablets.
WaterDonut and UltraPipe
Another water treatment system, albeit a little larger than the Pure design, is the WaterDonut by Germany's Verena Brückner. Using something called the SODIS effect, water is disinfected by placing the two WaterDonut containers in the sun for six hours. Then the UltraPipe filters the water through a membrane.
Have a look for yourself:
REAX re-animation system
This system replaces manual cardiac massage with mechanical delivery that is said to result in a more efficient and evenly distributed experience. The Swiss designer reports that REAX "can be installed quickly by a single person on the patient and adapts to the upper body."
U.S.A.'s Mantis portable dentist chair
Industrial design student Lee Kenttämaa-Squires proposes a portable, lightweight dentist chair that doubles as a dolly for carrying bulky equipment. The Mantis is currently in working prototype form and is made from steel tubing and aluminum joints. The chair can be inclined and adjusted to suit patient need and also includes a moveable headrest.
The Butterfly is a portable mobility solution that collapses into a handy, lightweight box-like unit when not in use. The designers say that: "while Butterfly is closed, it fits into any bag or backpack. By pulling the steering-knob, Butterfly pops open instantly and is ready to ride. After usage, push the two casings together and the folded plate disappears smoothly in-between the shell. This way dirt and bulky parts are elegantly enclosed inside the product."
Flo2w oxygen delivery system
Instead of having patients don a full-face mask when they are in need of oxygen, James D'Arcy's Flo2w system runs a breathing tube under the nose. The respiratory assist is secured by a headband and "integrates a new form of regulating oxygen in an innovative and easy way for both the patient and health care professional."
Designed by the UK's David Graham, Move-It is a modular transport system that makes the process of carrying home those big screen TVs, hi-fi units or mini-ovens a lot less arduous. It's made up of a kit containing a couple of wheels that are attached to the outside of whatever cardboard box you happen to be hauling. A user then chooses from different types of handles to make the trip home an easier one.
Austria's BIQUATTRO cargo bike
The Longreach Buoyancy Deployment System
The brainchild of University of New South Wales industrial design graduate, Samuel Adeloju's LONGREACH system shoots a water-activated buoyancy aid to someone at risk of drowning. Adeloju explains that: "It is designed to allow a victim to remain buoyant while rescue personnel prepare the appropriate response to the situation."
The Minotaur Fire Nozzle
Air Free Intravenous Infusions
Now that you've had a chance to give all 15 finalists a thorough going-over, which project do you think will be crowned winner on October 5? We'll let you know the outcome as soon as it's announced...