The Dyson Institute Undergraduate Engineers have been putting their spare time to good use as they set about designing solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
These inventions were designed in just a few days during the students’ summer holiday break and comes as the Dyson Institute opens for applications to its unique engineering degree, which is tuition-fee-free.
Sir James Dyson said: “Young people want to change the world and we must support them to do that.”
Sustainable development goals: Life on Land, Zero Hunger
A modular system that fits into any national standard-sized hive. Thanks to a sophisticated electronics system, comprising of temperature and humidity sensors, internal infrared cameras, microphones, an Arduino Feather and a Raspberry Pi, the smart sensing technology can permanently detect and measure the temperature, humidity and vibrations within the hive. These measurements are fed into a dashboard that shows the user the live conditions in the hive and alerts them when action needs to be taken.
Smart Posture-Correcting Chair
Sustainable development goals:Good Health and Wellbeing, Economic Growth
The chair works through a system of 10 pressure sensors integrated in the back and seat of the chair. It monitors the way the individual is sitting 100 times per second and provides real time feedback to an app on the user’s phone, converting the 10 sensor outputs into one easy to read ‘posture score’. With all the electronics integrated in the chair it’s designed to be compact, and not impact the comfort of the chair.
Water-Saving Toilet Hand Wash Basin Conversion Kit
Sustainable development goal: Water and Sanitation
A sink basin is mounted on top of this system to function as a regular hand washing station, but with added intelligent features. It tracks how much water is being used via an LCD display, which is motion activated through the use of proximity sensors to minimise contact and maintain hygiene. The water that would usually only refill the toilet ready to flush again is instead used to clean your hands before it’s used to flush. Together, this technology promotes water saving, cleanliness and sustainable living in compact spaces.
Intelligent Composting (see main photograph)
Sustainable development goals: Responsible Consumption and Production of Goods, Sustainable Cities
A design that holds 27 litres of compost and includes an air-tight lid mechanism, an activated carbon odour filter and user interface to make the composting process more ergonomic, as well as liquid-solid separation system to create different types of compost of different usage. Key to the design is the sensor and UI technology, which measures and reports methane, ammonia, temperature and humidity levels. This, in turn, notifies the user and prompts behaviour change – such as adjusting the temperature – to optimise the composting conditions within the bin. The compost generated can in turn be used to improve soil quality for house plants or urban allotments.
Condensed Farming System
Sustainable development goals: Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production of Goods
The design is based on a hydroponic system – whereby plants are grown in a water-based nutrient-rich solution rather than soil – housed in an insulated, drainpipe-like module fitted with sensors. This enables the temperature, humidity and light source to be monitored and regulated, giving the crops inside the module what they need regardless of the conditions outside. The isolated and sectional design also means that the system can be manufactured easily and laid out in a shipping container or similar structure, maximising the yield of crops possible.