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Life-Saving Alternative to the Smoke Alarm Wins the 2009 James Dyson Award

CHICAGO, Sept 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A life-saving student design that could replace the smoke alarm as the essential home gadget has won the international James Dyson Award.

Automist, which was chosen from the final shortlist by inventor James Dyson, can both detect fires and put them out by aerosolising the water from a standard kitchen tap.

Automist can be fitted directly onto any standard kitchen tap to create domestic alternative to a sprinkler system. In the event of a fire, a wireless heat detector triggers the under-sink pump driving water through a nozzle - quickly filling the kitchen with a fine mist to put out the blaze.

London product design graduates, Yusuf Muhammed and Paul Thomas, will receive a

10,000 pounds Sterling cash prize. There university department at the Royal College of Art will also receive 10,000 pounds.

James Dyson appreciated the inventors' ingenuity, saying, "This simple but clever device should become a permanent safety feature in the home. Smoke alarms are essential part of modern life but have remained fundamentally unchanged for forty years. Automist not only detects a fire but can put it out as well."

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 60% of domestic fires originate in the kitchen. Each year more than 400,000 fires occur in U.S. homes, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries.

The idea for the design came from a brainstorming session with a number of firemen at Chelsea Fire Brigade in London. The team worked on the design with trauma and stress experts, fire engineers, international sprinkler specialists and fire fighters. A working prototype was tested in a fire facility.

Muhammed was thrilled to learn his idea had won, "It's fantastic news. Paul called to let me know we'd won at 2.30 in the morning. We're hoping to use the prize money on testing and getting Automist on sale."

The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. It's run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson's charitable trust, in 21 countries. The winner and their design engineering department both receive 10,000 pounds cash.

The runners up

2nd place - The Pressure Alert

Designed by Glasgow School of Art student, Jude Pullen, the Pressure Alert is an adaptation for a medical device called an Endotracheal Tube, inserted into the patient's airway allowing them to breathe during anaesthesia. The airway is sealed to prevent leaks by inflating a balloon called a Cuff. If the Cuff pressure is too high, it could bruise or split the trachea.

Currently, a safe pressure is judged by feeling a pilot balloon, which fills with air in proportion to the cuff. However, this is a delicate procedure, even for seasoned anaesthetists. The pressure alert is integrated into the Pilot balloon and gives a "pop-up" warning to instantly alert the user when the pressure becomes too high during an operation - reducing the risk of injury.

3rd place - Folding Plug

Finally, a solution to those bulky plug and adapters under the desk. The folding plug is just

1cm thick and a quarter of the size of standard plug. Its three pins can be folded so they are flat, drastically reducing its width.

An adapter allows you to plug three appliances into a single socket. Inventor Min Kyu Choi, who recently graduated in product design from the Royal College of Art in the UK, came up with the design when he became frustrated with carrying bulky UK plugs around with his slim laptop.

The plug could become the standard power source for laptops and other portable electronic devices.

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