2 Irish inventors shortlisted for James Dyson Award and €37,500 prize

17 Sep 2015

the Sense helmet designed by Eilis Delaney. Image via

Two young Irish inventors — Eilis Delaney and Cathal Redmond — are on the elite list of 20 inventors included in the shortlist of global entries for this year’s James Dyson Award.

The James Dyson Award is already well established as one of the biggest competitions for inventors to pitch their design concepts to, and now two from this island have been whittled down from an original list of 600 entries.

One of the entries was recently highlighted here on Siliconrepublic.com, that being Cathal’s Express Dive lightweight underwater breathing system, which picked up the top prize in the Irish leg of the competition.

Unlike traditional snorkels, Cathal’s Express Dive allows the user to dive to much greater depths as it has its own separate air tank and would cost just €400 to buy, rather than the €3,000-plus that a traditional scuba suit would cost.

The final Express Dive prototype device is comprised of a compact air tank, an air regulator and a compressor combination made from high-density foam, aluminium and silicone.

Meanwhile, Eilis Delaney’s entry sees the inclusion of her Sense smart firefighter helmet aid among the top 20.

Her Sense technology can be retrofitted into an existing firefighter helmet and gives the firefighter access to an ultrasonic proximity sensor and a vibration system that will warn them when they approach an obstacle in dark or dangerous environments.

The Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) student identified the problem of poor sensory feedback for firefighters by analysing the standard uniform currently in use.

Eilis Delaney with members of Dublin Fire Brigade testing the Sense. Image via Itziar Telletxea Rocha

Eilis Delaney with members of Dublin Fire Brigade testing the Sense. Image via Itziar Telletxea Rocha

“Firefighters face serious obstacles sensing, predicting and interpreting conditions when navigating their way around a burning building,” Delaney said.

“This is largely down to the thick-layered and heavy uniform they wear, which limits sensory feedback and suppresses natural instinct – at a time when quick decisions based on limited fragments of information are essential.”

Interestingly, Delaney said that she sourced much of her inspiration for the technology from nature and tribal cultures across the globe.

Both inventors will now have a chance to compete for the €37,500 grand prize, with the winner due to be announced on 10 November.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic