Dyson is a familiar name to anyone who knows their household tech - them of the bladeless fans and sci-fi vacuum cleaners.
But did you know that there’s also an annual James Dyson award that’s run by the James Dyson Foundation? It’s probably the closest thing we have to an invention competition. The brief? Simple, design something that solves a problem.
Past winning inventions have included a bionic arm, an electronic communication device to bridge the gap between the hearing-impaired and the hearing, as well as a motion-activated safety jacket for cycling. National winners are decided upon before the Dyson engineers do their own shortlisting and an international winner is announced on 27 October.
Here's the look at the Singapore winner of this year - Oneware by Loren Lim.
It might look like a giant washing board, but Oneware is a modular product that helps people with the use of one functioning hand get things done. Made up of a main frame that would fit most sinks, it comes with different attachments that range from a chopping board to a silicone net to help these people wash their dishes.
The idea came to the industrial designer after he saw how much his uncle struggled with even the simplest of tasks after a stroke,
“I wanted to invent something that would allow us to use objects with just one hand. Through the years, we have made life easier for people to operate things with just one hand. For instance driving an automated car. So I asked, why can’t we do the same for day to day products? Aside from convenience, Oneware aims to rethink how we can perform a task more intuitively.”
The amount of work put into Oneware was not simple either. Lim spent six months studying the challenges amputees face and another six months getting the product right, before tweaking details like making the silicon net softer so users don't have to exert so much energy scrubbing dishes. Doesn't sound like much to people like you and I, but regaining control over simple kitchen chores is the first step to regaining independence.
Lim is currently in talks with manufacturers to produce Oneware commercially.