RMIT University graduate, Aaron Nguyen, has been named a Top 20 finalist in this year’s James Dyson Award . The James Dyson Award, run by James Dyson’s charity The James Dyson Foundation, seeks to find the brightest minds with fresh ideas to solve real-world problems. Aaron’s invention, LUNA Modular AFO, is just one of several inventions among the global best entries that seeks to create a more inclusive world, solving problems faced by people with disabilities.
This year saw a record-breaking year for James Dyson Award entries, with over 2,000 university students and graduates (within four years) across the world submitting their projects to the annual competition. From a wood alternative made from Kombucha waste (Pyrus), to natural ecosystems for bees (HIIVE), to a new bio leather made from citrus peel waste (Citra), the Top 20 inventions are designed to solve global issues head-on with unique solutions. Whether that is a scanner to determine types of plastics (Plastic Scanner), an assistive drawing device (Guided Hands) or new male contraceptive (COSO), these problem solving solutions aim to help improve lives across the world.
LUNA Modular AFO
In Australia, every three weeks a child is born with a Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), a broad group of inherited, degenerative disorders characterised by impaired walking due to spasticity (stiffness) and weakness of the lower limbs. Current ankle foot orthosis (AFO) options for children provide minimal support to their growing users, with rigid thermoplastic forms used to create an intentionally tight fit to give the user the optimal support. RMIT graduate, Aaron Nguyen’s invention, LUNA Modular AFO, is an ankle foot orthosis designed to adapt to its growing users modularly, prolonging use over several years, and reduce discomfort or common issues like blistering and cuts.
Aaron Nguyen was also named the James Dyson Award National winner, as judged by engineer Jane Waldburger, STEM journalist Rae Johnston and inventor Alex Goad. The National runners-up were Rinse Repeat, a compact home wastewater recycling system that halves water use in front loading washing machines and SASS: Stand Alone Sun Flow System, a sustainable and stand-alone water treatment system.