Zach Challies named NZ winner of James Dyson Award

Zach Challies and his shock-absorbing base for prosthetic noses.

Zach Challies and his shock-absorbing base for prosthetic noses.

Using 3D technology to print off a new nose has won a Wellington inventor the top prize in the New Zealand leg of the 14th annual James Dyson Award, a global product design competition that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.

Zach Challies created a shock absorbing base for prosthetic noses, after he learned people who had to wear prosthetics after injuries or surgery faced a second trauma – having their prosthetic accidentally knocked off when playing sports or being jostled in busy spaces.

The 24-year old Victoria University School of Design masters student says current replacements can cost more than $1,000 and can take a while to be made. His solution was a dynamic, shock-absorbing scaffold fitted under the nose-shaped facade to anchor it against accidental movement. The base connects to three implants in the wearer’s skull via magnets.
It can be printed for less than $50.

A second component of the design enables the wearer to play sports.  Beneath an inexpensive, realistic facade, the wearer would use a flat, shock absorbing guard which provides more protection while still allowing good air-flow. Together with the facade, it would cost less than $100 and take about two hours to make on a 3D printer.

Mr Challies, from Newtown, researched the design through consultation with a prosthetic wearer and maxillofacial and prosthetic specialists. ‘‘It’s just nice to raise the awareness of this condition, this day-to-day struggle of someone who has to wear a prosthesis.’’

The judges were unanimous in their decision. Head judge David Lovegrove says Mr Challies’ design shows empathy for a delicate situation and the solution has real potential to make a significant impact to the wearer’s confidence.

“Zach has undertaken a thorough exploration to address the problems facing wearers of nose prosthesis.  His solution has the potential to improve the rehabilitation for someone who is vulnerable and self-conscious,” Mr Lovegrove says.
“He has given the wearer a number of viable options, whereas previously there have been no choices available in traditional prosthetics.”

Mr Challies has won $4,000 from the James Dyson Foundation, and an official fee prize package from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) tailored to his design’s intellectual property needs, and a year’s membership to The Designer’s Institute.

Supported by the James Dyson Foundation, the international design award is run in 18 countries and recognises emerging designers who have developed inventions reflect the Dyson design philosophy, to make products that solve everyday problems.

Five New Zealand entries, including Mr Challies’ design and two runner up products, will progress to the international James Dyson Award competition – all have a chance to win the grand prize of $60,000 to put towards commercializing the idea, plus another $20,000 for the designer’s university.

The international winner will be selected by James Dyson, inventor of the bagless vacuum, and announced on 6 November 2014. All entries can be viewed on

The NZ Runners-up

Traverse, by Manawatu designer, James Skeggs

23-year old Massey University design graduate, James Skeggs has designed Traverse, a pair of handles used on trekking poles by trampers and hunters.  Both handles are designed to attach to sticks which the tramper sources on the expedition, or can be joined together to form one long fording pole to help gauge and cross rivers, creeks and side streams.  This process takes several seconds, allowing time for the tramper to stop and think twice before deciding whether to cross.

The Palmerston North-based product designer and keen tramper, says he was inspired to design an alternative to traditional poles after finding himself in a tricky river crossing.

“Rivers are one of the greatest hazards in our outdoors. On average there are three river crossing deaths a year in New Zealand, and seventy percent of tramping related injuries involving trips, slips or falls.

“This design set out to promote the awareness of safety within tramping, and encouraging safer decision-making in and around rivers,” Mr Skeggs says.

After completing a river safety course, Mr Skeggs consulted with The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council when designing his product.

See Mr Skeggs’ design here:

Harvesting excess man-made energy, by Albany designer, Manoocher Zarif

A device that converts vibrations found in urban traffic into electricity has been designed by industrial design graduate Manoocher Zarif while he was experimenting with a Piezo device that converts pressure and movement into electricity, lighting up a LED lamp.

The 23-year old, who works at a billboard company, says his design turns urban excess man-made energy into power, for lighting, billboards, signs and effects as an off-grid source of electricity for urban areas.

While Mr Zarif has created a model, the harvester is at concept stage only.  See it here: