The James Dyson Award: Direct365 Top 10 Picks

by Melissa McNamara in Informative Articles | posted:

dyson award

This year, the James Dyson Award has some ground-breaking contenders all hoping to win the first place prize of £30,000. The prestigious award is held annually to celebrate, encourage and inspire design engineering – and some of the creations will blow your mind.

The shortlisted engineers have developed designs that solve problems with global impact. These inventions offer solutions in waste management, sustainability, hygiene, safety and energy usage – things we’re passionate about here at Direct365.

Ahead of the winner announcement, we’ve compiled our own top 10 list out of Dyson’s 81 national finalists, with the Direct365 focus on environmental impact and sustainability driving our preferences.


Direct365’s Top 10

  1. Zukgaan (National Runner Up)


What is it?

Zukgaan is a reusable straw able to be dismantled for hygienic cleaning. Thanks to the magnetic design, the diameter can be adjusted with different folding methods, making it versatile for use with various containers and drinks.

Why do we love it?

Straws play a massive part in plastic pollution. Metal straws have been a recently popular alternative, however these are often difficult to thoroughly clean and pose hygiene problems. The transformability of Zukgaan solves this cleaning problem, and its reusability challenges the single use, throwaway culture that is harming our environment.


  1. Indra (National Runner Up)


What is it?

Indra is a multifunctional insect control device powered with renewable energy. It is wind, solar and hand powered and can kill hazardous insects like mosquitos, provide light and generate electricity – what’s more, it’s made with recycled materials!

Why do we love it?

We understand how important pest control is to improving health. The Indra was designed in light of major public health problems in India due to mosquito-borne diseases and provides an inexpensive way to protect market vendors from dangerous pests. It doesn’t rely on any infrastructure to function, instead taking energy from a solar panel, fan blades and a manual handle – a great design for sustainable safety and wellbeing.


  1. Aleaf (National Runner Up)


What is it?

The Aleaf is a self-sufficient charging device using renewable energy from piezoelectric and pyroelectric materials. It absorbs movement and temperature change throughout the day, carries its own built-in battery and acts as a protective case.

Why do we love it?

In an age of mobile phones, tablets and computers, the Aleaf aims to provide a sustainable and autonomous energy source for everyday usage. We love this idea and its potential for business usage in small electrical equipment like PDAs, making the everyday more convenient and eco-friendly.


  1. Night Loo (National Runner Up)

Night loo

What is it?

Night Loo is a reusable, personal urinal to provide safe toilet use for females living in refugee camps, particularly at night times when going out to communal latrines can be dangerous and threatening. The silicone design includes splash guard features, a spout to pour out treated waste and can be easily unfolded to clean.

Why do we love it?

No one should feel too unsafe to use a toilet. Night Loo takes into account the challenges some people face when they don’t even have the most basic washroom facilities in a hazardous environment. This design includes a packet of super-absorbent polymer encased in dissolving PVA film, turning liquid waste into an odourless powder for quick sanitation.


  1. SIP! (National Winner)


What is it?

SIP is an all-in-one product which combines a paper cup, a straw and a cap into one design. It provides the benefits of these objects without the environmental damage caused by conventional plastic containers.

Why do we love it?

We love an ethical approach to waste. Millions of plastic straws are used and trashed every day, ending up in landfills or oceans. Even when recycled, single straws are small enough to escape the recycling pathway, calling for a much needed redesign. This integrated paper cut-out offers a low-cost alternative that is ideal for mass production and will reduce negative environmental impact.


  1. TIDE. (National Runner Up)


What is it?

TIDE is a menstrual toolkit designed for displaced women. It caters to every aspect of the menstrual cycle, providing a reusable and universal health solution for refugee females. The design includes a three-layered pad, handheld washing device and internal cage.

Why do we love it?

Dealing with sanitation issues is important, especially in crisis environments. The design of TIDE considers everything for a user in need, from washing and wearing to educating and breaking down stigmas. This reusable design helps with the safety, hygiene and comfort of those who require it.


  1. CIRCULARIS (National Runner Up)


What is it?

CIRCULARIS is an automatic home recycler designed to make waste separation easy and convenient. The bin system, designed as a built-in unit, uses smart recognition to separate and compress packaging materials. It comes with an assistance app to raise awareness and encourage waste reduction.

Why do we love it?

Waste management is what we’re all about, and this system addresses the everyday struggle of municipal recycling with an economic and environmentally-friendly solution. It recognises, separates and compresses common packaging material, reducing human error and creating a time-efficient and sleek alternative to separate and spaced out bins at home.


  1. The Pyroclave (National Runner Up)

What is it?

The Pyroclave is a medical waste processor that uses pyrolysis, which is the process of decomposing organic material using extreme heat in the absence of oxygen (the same process used in the creation of charcoal).

Why do we love it?

Disposing of medical waste is a recurrent dilemma worldwide; there are practically no economic and eco-friendly practices for its safe disposal. Considered with health and environmental codes in mind, this design offers a harmless alternative to incineration with fewer by-products, acting as a sustainable green solution to a waste crisis.



  1. Bing Bin (National Winner)

bing bin

What is it?

Bing Bin is a smart communal bin that automatically recognises, sorts and compacts trash and can store eight times more waste than a conventional bin thanks to the in-built compression system. It uses artificial intelligence, including image recognition technology to avoid incorrect sorting, and features changeable, reusable cartridges as opposed to wasteful plastic bags.

Why do we love it?

This invention really appeals to our love of hassle-free eco-friendliness. The ergonomic design resolves most of the difficulty in waste sorting at a consumer level, making it easy for users to ensure packaging is recycled. The AI aspect brings innovation and efficiency into waste management and allows businesses to provide a responsible receptacle for all to use.



  1. Potato Plastic (International Top 20)

potato plastic

What is it?

Potato Plastic, made of potato starch, is a biodegradable material for one time use-products, like cutleries, straws and salt bags. Once discarded and in nature, it can decompose within two months and provide nutrients to soil.

Why do we love it?

Potato Plastic is our hero in the war on single-use plastics. Using only potato starch and water, this thermoplastic has endless design possibilities. It creates a cyclic, hazard-free waste process, with material drawing from the earth that, even when littered, can do good to the surrounding environment. Innovation like this is making tracks for a maintainable green lifestyle that the global food industry can get behind.


So, what do you think of our top picks? See the full list of 2018 entries here and keep your eyes peeled for the International Winner announcement on November 15th!