The Longreach buoyancy bazooka designed by Samuel Adeloju has been chosen as this year's winner of the James Dyson Award competition. The system shoots an emergency aid out to those at risk of drowning while the emergency services ready the rescue proper. Once the aid hits water it rapidly expands to help keep the victim afloat. The SeaKettle desalination life raft and the REAX re-animation kit have taken the runner-up prizes.

Sydney's Samuel Adeloju describes his Longreach Buoyancy Deployment System as "a man-portable system that allows for the rapid conveyance of temporary, water-activated buoyancy devices to a drowning victim's location." The rescuer takes aim and then launches the buoyancy aid in the direction of the victim, which expands into a life ring upon contact with the water.

Currently in the prototype testing phase, the system is also equipped with Para-Flares for night-time illumination. Adeloju is working with scientists and engineers on a specially developed expansive foam to help ensure the product's safety and effectiveness. The system will shortly begin field trial testing with Surf Life Saving Australia.

This video explains what the Longreach system is all about:

Announcing the winner, James Dyson said: "Longreach is a smart solution to a very real problem. A product's functionality couldn't be more important when it's used to save someone's life."

The 24 year-old design graduate will now receive a GBP10,000 (US$15,902) cash prize and a visit to one of the company's research, design and development centers. His engineering faculty at the University of New South Wales will also receive GBP10,000.

And the runners up are...

Second place position has gone to a Gizmag Reader favorite, the SeaKettle life raft. Designer Kim Hoffman told Gizmag that she came up with the design "while at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco during the Spring semester of 2008. The objective was to design a product for an emergency situation. After doing much research, and starting off with a wide range of ideas, I narrowed down my focus to improving upon current life raft designs to help to prevent users from suffering from dehydration while stranded at sea."

Sea water is had-pumped into a shallow reservoir located in the lower of two canopies. The sea water evaporates through a Gortex cover which lets vapor through but keeps salt molecules trapped. As the vapor reaches the top of the canopy, it's condensed to form drinkable water droplets which are collected in pockets at the bottom of the life raft's support arms.

Lars Imhof and Marc Binder from the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern in Switzerland take third place with the REAX re-animation system. Giving CPR can be a physically demanding and far from precise affair. REAX uses pneumatic muscle technology to compress a patient's chest at regular intervals and frees medical personal to perform other tasks.

Both runners up will be invited to visit one of Dyson's two research, design and development centers.

We offer our congratulations to all three winners and wish them well for the future.