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Dyson prize presented at Swinburne

Date posted: Wednesday 14 Dec 2011

Dyson prize presented at Swinburne
Swinburne industrial design graduate Edward Linacre yesterday received the $16,500 James Dyson Award prize money for his Airdrop irrigation-by-condensation system. A further $16,500 was presented to Swinburne's Faculty of Design. 

Edward’s unique irrigation system was announced as the 2011 Dyson award winner last month and has captured the attention of some of the world’s top designers and commercial developers in the US, Asia and the Middle East.

Using a turbine to force air underground, the Airdrop collects and distributes moisture to crops, providing a low-tech solution to maintain agriculture in arid climates. Edward’s inspiration came from the Namib beetle, which collects droplets of water on its wings during early-morning fog.

Founder of the Dyson company Sir James Dyson said: “Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armoury. Airdrop shows how simple, natural principles like the condensation of water, can be applied to good effect through skilled design and robust engineering.

“Young designers and engineers like Edward will develop the simple, effective technology of the future – they will tackle the world’s biggest problems and improve lives in the process.”

Dyson Australia’s Ed Culley presented the prize money to Edward and Swinburne’s Faculty of Design on behalf of the James Dyson Foundation.

Edward thanked the foundation for recognising and supporting young designers and engineers and helping them make a difference in the world. He also thanked staff from the Faculty of Design for supporting his work from the initial brief through to the final product outcome.

University Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Design Professor Ken Friedman said the award honoured the faculty’s role in Edward’s achievements.

“Edward and Dyson demonstrate the power of combining design, technology, and engineering to solve problems that were once beyond our reach.”

Professor Friedman said the faculty would use its share of the Dyson award money to encourage industrial design and product design engineering students to participate in the Swinburne Design Factory, an international ‘Living Lab’ program launched in November by Victoria's Minister for Business and Innovation, Louise Asher.

“We will encourage design students to work alongside engineering, information technology, and business students solving ‘mission impossible’ problems for business, industry and government. This is the spirit of Sir James Dyson in action, and we are honoured to share a prize that carries his name."

Details of Edward’s project can be viewed on the James Dyson Award website. He plans to use the prize money to develop a large prototype of the Airdrop system.

"The next step is to prove it works on a larger scale. There has been a lot of interest in manufacturing the Airdrop. I want to keep it local and support the Australian manufacturing industry. It needs further research and development – I need to find the right industrial partner,” Edward said.

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