After receiving an overwhelming success last year, when the James Dyson Awards launched in the UAE, the competition returns for its second edition this year. Internationally, this year marks the 15th anniversary of the James Dyson Award. Continuing in the vein of innovative and life-changing concepts, which benefit society-at-large, the James Dyson Foundation is challenging innovative and entrepreneurial students and recent graduates to design something that solves a problem.
James Dyson says: “Young engineers and designers have perspective and unbridled intelligence that makes them incredibly adept at problem solving. Their ideas can easily be dismissed, but if nurtured and celebrated they are transformative. Developing a product or technology is a long and daunting process; the James Dyson Award celebrates the inventive young people embarking on that process. The Award champions our next generation of inventors and will propel them towards future success. I am excited to see what surprising ideas this year’s award brings.”
Last year, the winning duo of the UAE edition, Amer Siddiqui and Ali Asgar Salim, engineering students at the American University of Sharjah, impressed the judges with their take on the Air Chair. Their entry went on to win the runners-up position in the international round of the competition. The Air Chair aimed to address the challenges faced by people of determination while travelling by air. Salim and Siddiqui say: “Disabled passengers have been turned away from their flight because their wheelchair couldn’t fit in the hold, or left to wait to disembark for hours. The combination of stairs, narrow seating and a dependency on staff to lift you on and off an aircraft, can make flying a challenging process for some passengers. Air Chair will make the experience more comfortable and dignified for disabled travellers by allowing them to use one chair for their entire journey, from departure, lounge to take-off.”
Youssef Mouallem, managing director, Dyson, Middle East and Africa says: “Ali and Amer bagging the international runners-up spot last year was a proud moment for us, and they’ve set the bar really high for the 2019 competition. Their innovation defined what JDA has always stood for – a simple solution to a real problem, but also one that’s perceptive, thoughtful, and empowering. We are hoping that their recognition will encourage more students to come forward and present their ideas with conviction. There is a growing emphasis in the region on embedding technology into education, a growing recognition of its disruptive power and its rapidly evolving role in our economies, which places young engineers and entrepreneurs in a position of strength to deliver meaningful and relevant solutions to real world problems. So, the bar can never be set too high, because students’ efforts and passions will always outshine our expectations and the environment in the region is becoming increasingly conducive for aspiring entrepreneurs. Ultimately, we’re looking for simple and clear ideas, for people with empathy, and for people who can take ownership – we know we’re not short of this, so we’re confident 2019 will be no different.”