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Nicole Austin Wins 2017 James Dyson Award New Zealand

2017 James Dyson Award New Zealand Winner Announced

Auckland-based designer re-invents lamb docking tool named national winner of James Dyson Award

A re-designed lamb docking or tailing iron has won the New Zealand leg of the prestigious James Dyson Award for design engineers.

Many sheep farmers can experience repetitive strain injuries from using traditional tools during the seasonal process of removing lambs’ tails, commonly known as docking. And it’s not just the farmers who have been suffering; fluctuations in blade temperatures can cause considerable pain for the lambs, often leading to ineffective cauterisation and stock mortality.

Auckland-based industrial designer Nicole Austin has helped solve these problems by inventing Moray, an innovative hand-tool designed to help improve usability, performance and stock wellbeing.

The current docking tool still commonly used was conceived in the 1960s with the design remaining unchanged for over 40 years. Nicole says the current docking tool is primitive and arduous on farmers’ hands.

“I’ve refined the tool to be 35% lighter and to use 60% less hand span than the docking iron currently used by New Zealand farmers. Repetitive strain injury occurring to the hands of ageing farmers is very common, and my new design aims to overcome this,” said the Massey University industrial design graduate.

Using piezoelectric igniting, Moray has a specialised double-chamber dampening shaft for reliable weather-proofing and consistent blade temperatures for clean cauterisation. Effective docking significantly reduces lamb morality and has a positive impact on the health and productivity of the animals involved.

The product prototype has been developed, and Nicole is now hoping to enter Moray into the next development phase of functional testing.

James Dyson Award New Zealand head judge and president of The Designers Institute, Mike Jensen, said the judging panel was impressed by Nicole’s deep exploration into how the product may provide significant improvements for animal welfare and user comfort.

“Nicole visited a series of farms to interview farmers, ran surveys and undertook rigorous design workshops during the research phase. She also spent time docking to truly understand the process and the current challenges faced by farmers during the highly labour-intensive docking season. The result is a prototype design that will save time and definitely effort, and is a major advancement on what is currently being used by farmers” said Mike.

“Moray is a relatable product for our agricultural country. It’s exciting to see a functional and rugged design that has been well researched, and that holds much commercial potential for domestic and international markets,” Mike added.

Nicole’s entry has won her £2, 000 (approximately NZD$3,500[1]), with Moray progressing to the international round of the James Dyson Award competition with a chance to win the grand prize of NZD$50,000[2] to put towards commercialising their ideas, plus NZD$8,000[3] for the designer’s university. The international winner will be announced on 26 October, 2017.

Supported by the James Dyson Foundation, the James Dyson Award is run in 23 countries to recognise emerging designers who have developed inventions that solve real world problems. The competition brief is to design something that solves a problem, big or small.

The New Zealand runner up entries include a sustainable chair made from fungus, a vein finding device to reduce time and anxiety when inserting intravenous needles, a live streaming system for watching amateur sport and an electronic log drum that can be digitally recorded.

The runner up entries:

Pare Chair – An Exploration of Zero Waste Design and Materiality, by Wellington designer Glenn Catchpole

Glenn Catchpole has explored zero waste and materiality in his Pare Chair prototype. “The chair was influenced by extensive material exploration – I grew a mycelium (fungi) and veneer material composite and formed it into complex surfaces, resulting in a chair produced without waste.”

Mike said the judges found Pare to be a “fantastic ecological approach to designing alternative furniture to the point of building a prototype chair using innovative and sustainable materials and systems.

See Glenn's design here.

Pulse: Redesigning Intravenous Cannulation, by Auckland designer Abby Farrow

Auckland-based industrial designer Abby Farrow’s hand-held device, Pulse makes intravenous vein finding more patient- and practitioner-friendly. Pulse integrates vein-finding technology with the insertion of an intravenous (IV) cannula, showing in real-time what the practitioner previously could only feel. This makes the often difficult and extremely precise task of introducing a cannula into a potentially distressed or critical patient faster, and more efficient.

The judging panel said this design could have broader applications than as an intravenous drip, and could be used for vaccinations or collecting blood samples and ultimately reducing anxiety in young children who fear procedures involving needles.

See Abby's design here.

Sideline Streaming, by Hamilton designer Haydn Jack

Hamilton-based industrial designer Haydn Jack’s entry Sideline Streaming, is a live streaming system specifically designed for amateur sports broadcasters. Sideline Streaming removes the technical knowledge and infrastructure that currently prevent grass level and niche interest sports clubs from streaming their events online.

Mike said in our social media saturated world, the judges saw valuable opportunity for Haydn’s design to make it easier for amateur sport footage to be shared amongst friends and family.

See Haydn's design here.

Pato, by Wellington designer Rachael Hall

Wellington laboratory technician Rachael Hall has designed Patō, an electronic, tunable and portable log drum for the modern musician. Patō introduces the sound of the South Pacific to the modern digital environment, adding finesse and the benefits of technology to ethnic percussion.

Says Mike, “The judges found Rachael has revolutionised an instrument that has remained unchanged for a very long time, by bringing it into this digital world we live in.”

See Rachael's design here.


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