Dyson Awards 2012

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The shortlist for this year’s Dyson Award has been announced.

As you’d expect from anything bearing James Dyson’s name, it’s an award for an engineering solution to a problem you sometimes didn’t know you had.

Need an ambulance capable of vertical takeoff and landing? The Dyson Award entrants have it covered.

Need to capture water vapour from the air to feed back into the soil in arid farming areas? The winner of last year’s Dyson Award has exactly what you need.

Worried about small fish being unable to escape from fishing nets because the holes close? Someone has been working on this and it’s on this year’s Dyson Award

But the problems tackled by the students entering the competition are not always so earth shattering. You know how toast always goes leathery and limp about thirty seconds after leaving the toaster? Obviously, this is a problem that has really exercised someone’s mind, because they’ve invented a toaster that is not only cordless and more efficient, but makes better toast.

And my favourite?

My absolute favourite is the Spanish entry, which is a suitcase that will follow you, like an obedient dog, through an airport terminal. It works by following a signal from your smartphone, and it moves on little caterpillar tracks.

It’s official. The Luggage is real, and it is coming to an airport near you.

Be afraid. Be very afraid…

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