Dyson Awards unearth new kitchen appliance designs

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: International finalists in the 2007 James Dyson Awards have been announced with this year’s crop containing a number of innovations in home appliances including a new cooktop design and an in-home coffee bean roaster.

Designers are encouraged to tackle everyday problems in a new and creative way, with the perennial example being Dyson’s own industry-leading bagless cyclonic vacuum cleaners.

Of the 13 finalists this year, a number of designers applied their problem-solving skills to the home electrical appliances category including UK Royal College of Arts graduate, Susan Clarke, whose new cooktop design, SiMPLE, is supposed to increase efficiency.

“If you cook on gas you tend to lose lots of heat. On electric cookers, unless your pan fits the ring perfectly, heat loss is significant. In my experiments I found that good contact with the pan significantly cuts the time it takes to boil a cup of water. With SiMPLE the silicone rubber ensures a good heat source-to-pan contact. This means that you can save energy,” said Clarke.

In addition to the winning energy conservation credentials, SiMPLE’s clever use of materials means that the cooking surface simply peels off the hob for easy cleaning.

A Dutch designer has submitted an entry which could be of interest to the growing coffee enthusiast market, which has seen espresso coffee machines become the number one small appliance market segment in Australia in recent years.

Called the Crop Coffee, the gadget allows consumers to roast coffee beans at home. Its designer, Wouter Haarsma, says it will not only offer convenience, but help the plight of coffee farmers whose income has been dramatically reduced by multinationals. Allowing consumers to roast their own green coffee beans cuts out the cost of marketing and promotion.

Contestants in the Dyson awards are drawn from around the globe through a series of national awards with the overall international winner set to be named at the British Embassy in Berlin later this week. The judging panel of 13 is headed up by James Dyson.

The award is part of the James Dyson Foundation, a registered charity whose aim is to inspire and excite young people about design engineering.

“Experimentation and creativity need to be cultivated at school and university if we are to see future innovations emerging,” said Dyson.

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