Inventor's breath of vision for prize
JAMES D'Arcy had many reasons to celebrate yesterday. Minutes before he received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Limerick, the 23-year-old product-design student found out he made the international shortlist for the prestigious James Dyson Design Award.
The Cork native is the only Irish finalist. He has already beaten 500 other student inventors from 21 countries to be included in the top 20 and is now vying for the award and a €12,000 cash prize.
He credits his late father Tom, who died from Hodgkin's disease in 2008, for inspiring his design.
Called the Flo2w, the revolutionary oxygen-delivery system is fitted on to a patient's head using an adjustable headpiece that can be clipped on and off.
James came up with the idea for his final-year design project while in hospital visiting his father, who was hooked up to a traditional oxygen machine.
"My dad was in hospital for eight months and his biggest complaint was that his oxygen mask was cutting into his ears," he told the Irish Independent.
His device allows patients to breathe in comfort. "The headpiece can be reused and you throw away the tubing," he said. "The design makes the user feel as if they are not even wearing it."
The awards were established by the James Dyson Foundation -- founded by the billionaire industrial designer from Norfolk, England, who invented the cyclonic vacuum cleaner bearing his name -- to support the next generation of design engineers.
The charitable trust will also give €12,000 to the winner's university or college.
James Dyson, who will announce the global winner on October 5, said: "We need to do more to support the engineers of the future. Making things is not about grime and grease, but solving real-life problems."