The winner of the James Dyson Award has been announced. The award was created to highlight the best of the best in industrial engineering product design. A 22-year-old student from Loughborough University named Will Broadway walked away with the highest honors for an industrial design that has the potential to save millions of lives around the world.
Broadway is an industrial design graduate at Loughborough and has designed an “Isobar” that keeps vaccines at the right temperature when being transported. The device employs a chemical process that creates the perfect environment for the vaccines. It uses a propane burner to heat ammonia and water in a chamber at the bottom of the device (pictured left). Once the cooling is needed, the ammonia vapors are ‘pumped’ into the main chamber and keeps the vaccinations cold.
“I make things every day for people who have everything. I wanted to make something for people who have next to nothing. It should be a basic human right, in my opinion, to have a vaccination,” Broadway said.
The device has the potential to improve medical assistance in developing nations. The World Health Organization has reported that issues rendering vaccinations useless cause 1.5 million more deaths per year, worldwide. In developing nations, vaccines are kept cool using ice, which becomes impractical due to vaccines being completely frozen before delivery.
Broadway got the idea when he visited Cambodia and southeast Asia in 2012.
Soon he found the inspiration to create a portable refrigeration unit that would solve an issue he knew was a big problem in the world. Broadway has criticized price markups on medical products that could improve developing nations’ health and has said he is not interested in making any money.
Experts have said the refrigeration unit will also be useful for blood donation and organ transplant applications. But what about the non-medical uses?
Broadway says: “It’s risky but there is potential for commercial cooling. It would be a great thing to take on a five-day trip where you have no power.”
As a result of winning the James Dyson Award for the UK, Broadway received £2,000, which he says he will be using to create further prototypes of the refrigerator. He will also apply for patents. He also goes into the running for the International Dyson Award, where £30,000 will be the prize money for the winner.
“I am so pleased that this technology can get a bit of the limelight. It was such an innovative technology in 1929 that was forgotten and taken over by electric refrigeration,” Broadway said.