1st Prize at the James Dyson Awards

“Design something that solves a problem”. The subject was so vast that Victor Cheung and Vincent Bihler spent several weeks beforehand, concentrating on designing a hygienic mask to enter the competition for a James Dyson Award. Both students are matriculated in Industrial engineering design at UTC, and as winners of the national competition are now set up for the international prize deliberations!

1st Prize at the James Dyson Awards

"We can observe increasing numbers of people wearing face masks when outside, to filter pollutants in the air or to avoid contaminating other people when they themselves harbour infectious germs. Professionals also use masks in large numbers (in health services, the military, etc.). The problem is that these masks hide the mouth and facial expressions, muffle sound viz., there is a communication problem”, explains Victor Cheung. “The challenge was to find a way to filter the air without isolation the masked person from the surrounding world”.

The answer proposed by the two UTC students may more in the area of design than in pure technological optimisation. By positioning the air-filter in the branch that holds the mask in place at the back of the head, in which case the opaque part of classic masks can be replaced by a transparent material. Very clever! And the students had through the project and its variants: a slider to adapt mask to various head shapes, an articulation so as not to hamper the users’ movements, flexible membranes at the nose and chin to ensure air-tightness and a hands-free kit to use the phone … in a word, a practical, aesthetic mask, that can be manufactured with a perfect product presentation.

We can note that the two students continue their proposals – their project Eole, an economic, good-looking home heating unit was also singled out by the jury! The best ten projects from each country are forwarded to an international jury, who select 50 and among the 50 Sir James chooses 3 finalists: First Prize 30 000£ for the laureate and 10 000 £ for his/her school; 2nd and 3rd Prizes, 10 000 £ each Early November, Victor and Vincent’s projects will be exposed in Dyson’s Paris showroom. “This recognition will be a definite plus on our CVs, at a time when we shall be looking out for future job opportunities”, thinks Victor Cheung who also envisages launching a commercial venture with the mask; his conclusion “We have proved we can be engineers and win design competitions!”