Lifejacket that turns into a wetsuit and harness that keeps you face-up in the water
Two innovative and potentially life-saving products for sailors are among the creations vying for a £30,000 top prize in the James Dyson Awards.
The competition celebrates innovative design and is run by the James Dyson Foundation, a charitable trust set up by the vacuum cleaner pioneer.
A new lifejacket harness and a lifejacket that mitigates the effects of cold water shock have reached the final stages of the judging process.
Hydros, designed by Kieran Nomroyle from Ireland, is a three piece personal flotation device that claims to mitigate the effects of cold water shock, sea spray, hypothermia and secondary drowning.
Kieran says: ‘This is completed through a process of layering levels of clothing, exploiting the effects of hypothermia to an advantage, restricting heat loss through convection, conduction and evaporation.’
The TeamO Back Pull lifejacket harness has been designed by Oscar Mead from the UK, who says: ‘It is designed to overcome an existing design flaw which causes many fatalities.
‘When a person goes overboard off a ship wearing a lifejacket, attached to the vessel by a lifeline tether, the position of the tether on the front of the chest results in the victim being dragged through the water face down.
‘The victim is unable to lift their head clear of the water, or move their arms in a normal manner. Life expectancy is very short.
‘The TeamO functions like a normal lifejacket, however when a sailor goes overboard wearing a TeamO a hidden strop deploys to rotate the wearer on to their back.
‘The victim is towed backwards with their mouth and airways clear and unobstructed.
‘The jacket creates a ‘bow wave’ effect with the head protected from oncoming waves and they are able to use their arms normally.
‘The strop is designed as a lifting point, making it easier to retrieve the victim using a line, reducing the risk of further injury to victim or rescuers.’
The device has been tested by our sister magazine PBO for its November issue.
As many as 650 projects are in the running for the top prize, including bicycle lights that illuminate the entire wheel, an exoskeleton that augments human strength, a robot that can put in medical stitches and a lightweight oxygen cylinder for treating young children.
The winner will be announced on November 7.
Watch Yachting Monthly’s test of 12 different lifejackets