Interview: Dyson senior design engineer Patrick Maloney (video)

28 Mar 2013

Pictured: Dyson senior design engineer Patrick Maloney leading a workshop at Trinity College Dublin this week

Ahead of the 2013 James Dyson Award, one of the previous Irish winners Patrick Maloney now works at Dyson where he has worked on a number of core products including the DC44 cordless vacuum and the new Dyson Airblade Tap.

He was in Dublin this week to promote this year’s James Dyson Award which has always enjoyed a disproportionately high number of applications from young Irish inventors. Dyson began accepting entries for this year’s awards in recent weeks and the closing date for entries is 1 August.

Maloney graduated from the Institute of Technology Carlow’s industrial design course and in 2004 he won the James Dyson Foundation Award for his Anti Atrophy Casting System.

The Anti Atrophy Cast was a concept cast aimed at minimising the muscle bulk loss experienced by a patient after sustaining a fracture to their leg. 

The die is cast

“One day whilst commuting to University I noticed a passenger on the bus moving a cast on their arm – I thought to myself if the cast it that loose on the limb – it must not be offering much support to the limb. This reminded me of a time when my dad fractured his arm and I remember him suffering from significant muscle bulk loss while his arm was cast. 

“To address this issue I set about designing a novel cast that allowed access to the main muscle groups in the leg – this access allowed the patient or practitioner to apply electrical muscle stimulation to the major muscle groups in the leg (Gastrocnemius muscle and the Tibialis Anterior muscle). Along with the benefits of reducing muscle bulk loss and the need for recasting, the materials chosen for the cast allowed the patient to shower without having to wrap their cast in plastic,” Maloney said.

He explained that during his time at Carlow IT he considered patent the idea but the job at Dyson was a dream come true.

“I always dreamed of working there and from an early age I was inspired by James Dyson’s successes.

Maloney joined Dyson in 2005 as a graduate design engineer and in his own words was chucked in at the deep end early on.

One of the first product he got to work on was the DC23 cylinder vacuum cleaner and he grasped responsibility early on, taking a lead role in the development of a new slimline floor tool now known as the FT03, which intelligently corrected the cleaner head to correct itself for hardwood or carpet flooring.

Maloney told that he is still inspired by James Dyson’s success and perfectionism and still harbors ambitions to patent his own ideas. “Watch this space.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years