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  • Cheryl Tan

Smart Sensor to Detect Wound Infections Bags Top Prize At 2022 James Dyson Award

The 2022 James Dyson Award winners have been announced, and while there wasn't a Singaporean winner this year, the winning innovations for 2022 are still incredibly interesting.

Credit: Dyson

Let's talk about the International Winner, SmartHEAL, first. Created by three PhD students from Warsaw University of Technology, Poland, the innovation is a smart sensor that monitors the pH level of a wound and uses RFID systems to detect potential infections without the wound dressing having to be removed. This helps to prevent disrupting the healing tissue and exposing the wound to the environment.

According to a local study, there was a 100% increase in chronic wound-related hospital admissions between 2013 and 2017, and that figure is only expected to increase with an ageing population. In 2021, there were over 639,000 residents aged 65 and above in Singapore, and slower recovery processes are a contributing factor to chronic wounds being a persistent problem in this age demographic.

Thankfully, SmartHEAL is well into the development phase, with the team starting clinical trials soon and certifications expected to be done within three years so the product can start to be distributed in 2025.

Credit: Dyson

"SmartHEAL, a smart dressing, has won the International James Dyson Award because it provides doctors and patients with a key piece of data – the pH level – that can tell them how a wound is healing. This can improve treatment and prevent infection, saving lives. I hope the Award will give the team impetus to proceed down the tricky path towards commercialisation," said Sir James Dyson, Founder and Chief Engineer at Dyson.

The Sustainability Winner is also another exciting product, created by a team that noticed locals in Rwanda were unable to use 3D printers in a makerspace due to the exorbitant cost of importing filament to the country as well as a lack of plastic recycling infrastructure.

Thus, they came up with Polyformer, a machine that cuts up plastic bottles into long strips to be fed into an extruder to be thermoformed into 1.75mm filament. With this, people in developing nations will have easier, cheaper access to 3D printer filament while also helping to recycle plastic waste.

The creators of Polyformer, Swaleh Owais and Reiten Cheng, said: “It is a great honour to be the James Dyson Award 2022 Sustainability winner. We are using the prize money to deploy several Polyformers and Polyformer-Lites at our partner makerspaces in Rwanda. With these machines, local students, designers, and makers in Rwanda will have access to low-cost 3D printer filament. This means they can use their community's 3D printers more frequently!"

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