UL student wins Irish James Dyson Award for pool hoist

7 Sep 2011

A revolutionary new electronic swimming invention by a Limerick student has been announced as the winner of the Irish James Dyson Award. Twenty-three-year-old UL student Chris Murphy will receive €2,000 plus the Irish James Dyson Award.

Murphy’s invention goes forward to the international stage of the competition and is in with a chance of winning the global James Dyson Award, which has a grand prize of €12,000 plus €12,000 for the design department of the winning student’s college.

Murphy, from Westport in Co Mayo, was inspired to create the ‘Open Pool Transfer’ system while working as a lifeguard for more than five years.

“I was struck by the difficulties facing swimmers with limited mobility.”

Safety, comfort and dignity issues with existing pool access hoists led Murphy to engineer an ingenious solution.

After months of research and 30 initial concepts, Murphy refined the concept to arrive at the ‘Open Pool Transfer’ system. The electronic lift device gives people of all mobility levels a safe, comfortable and dignified way of transferring from poolside to water, which is controlled by the user themselves or an assistant.

Users sit facing parallel to the pool wall as they are lowered into the water so they can see both the device itself and the pool wall.

Controls in the armrest are used to lower the seat into the water in a two-stage process. This results in a greater feeling of safety and an improved experience.

This year’s competition saw more than 500 entries for the international prize from 18 countries. The James Dyson Award challenges students and recent graduates to solve an everyday problem in a creative way.

Murphy’s invention is one of 10 Irish student inventions that have been shortlisted for the global James Dyson Award.

Photo, above: Mayoman Chris Murphy with his ‘Open Pool Transfer’ hoist (below) that guarantees dignity, comfort and safety for swimmers with limited mobility

Open Pool Transfer system

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