Limerick student makes history in global James Dyson Awards

10 Nov 2015

Cathal Redmond with his Express Dive invention. Image via Marie McCallan/Press 22

There’s cause for celebration in Limerick today as University of Limerick (UL) graduate Cathal Redmond has finished as the joint runner-up in the James Dyson Awards with his underwater breathing system, Express Dive.

The James Dyson Award is considered one of the most prestigious among young inventors and, this year, Redmond’s Express Dive was one of the most highly-praised inventions by the Award’s judges.

For his achievement, he will be awarded €7,000 to go towards taking his idea from a concept to a feasible business idea.

By finishing in second place, Cathal is one of just three students out of more than 700 entrants from 20 countries worldwide to receive an international prize and is the first Irish student ever in the 11-year history of the Awards to win one of the major honours.

Redmond’s invention has been featured a number of times now on, most recently following his victory in the Irish leg of the James Dyson Award where he finished in first place, receiving €2,500 to develop his concept further.

Redmond’s Express Dive invention can greatly improve the speed at which someone can dive underwater, allowing divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes.

Once the diver’s air supply begins to run out, the user simply resurfaces and holds a button to refill the one-litre tank, allowing them to dive to even greater depths, all for a cost of €400, compared to a €3,000 scuba kit.

The UL graduate from Bunclody, Co Wexford recently finished his degree course in product design and technology at the university, but following his win he now wants to bring Express Dive to market.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be a global runner-up in the James Dyson Award,” Redmond said. “The support I’ve received over these past months since I was shortlisted has been phenomenal, and I just want to thank everybody who has helped get me here, I couldn’t have done it without them.   Since winning the Irish leg of the Award and talking to different people, I’ve seen there is a huge appetite for Express Dive — I’m going to spend the money developing the safety testing and getting it ready to sell!”

Irish-made Sense fire helmet among finalists

Among the other 17 finalists just missing out on the prizes was Irishwoman Eilis Delaney who developed her Sense fire helmet to allow firefighters to better navigate disaster situations.

The overall winner of the 2015 international James Dyson Award was the Voltera V-One rapid prototyping system, which prints circuit boards within minutes and was invented by a team from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

The four-person team has already raised more than CA$502,000 since running a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year.

The four students will receive €40,000 to develop their laptop-sized PCB printer, which will help start-ups get their products off the ground quicker and more cheaply than traditional means.

Joining Cathal in the runner-up spot was Sz-Chwu John Hwang from Taiwan for the invention of a system of biodegradable cell beads designed to combat algal bloom called Green Fairy.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic