A Wellington student's easy, cheap way to print off a new nose is in the running for an $80,000 international design award.
Victoria University school of design master's student Zach Challies, 24, has created a shock-absorbing undercarriage for prosthetic noses, one of three Kiwi finalists of the James Dyson Award. The award is run in 18 countries and funded by the British designer who made a fortune from inventing the "bagless" vacuum cleaner.
Challies realised people who had to wear prosthetic noses after injuries or surgery faced a second trauma - getting accidentally jostled on a bus, in the street or playing sports. "Having [your] nose knocked off is a pretty intense thing to go through."
On top of this, there was the added expense and delay of waiting for a replacement to be made from a mould, at a cost of about $1000, Challies said.
His solution was a dynamic, shock-absorbing scaffold fitted under the nose-shaped facade to anchor it against accidental bumps. The base connects to three implants in the wearer's skull via magnets.
It can be made using a 3D printer, at a cost of under $50.
A second component of the design enables the wearer to play non-contact sports such as touch rugby, or even football. 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.
Challies, who collaborated with a prosthetic wearer and maxillofacial and prosthetic specialists in his design, said his main motivation was raising awareness. "It's just nice to raise the awareness of this condition, this day-to-day struggle of someone who has to wear a prosthesis."
Recent Massey University industrial design graduate and keen outdoorsman James Skeggs is another finalist, with a tramping device designed to make river-crossing less perilous. Skeggs said he was inspired to design the Traverse - handles that attach to sticks to make trekking poles or one long fording pole - after an especially tricky river crossing.
Attaching the handles takes a few seconds, allowing time for trampers to pause and think twice before deciding whether to cross. On average there are three river crossing deaths a year in New Zealand and 70 per cent of tramping injuries involve slips or falls.
Skeggs and Challies are joined by Albany man Manoocher Zarif, who has designed a device to harvest vibrations found in traffic and convert them to electricity for use in congested cities.
The international award comes with a prize of $60,000 to commercialise the idea and $20,000 for the designer's university. The New Zealand winner is announced tomorrow.
- The Dominion Post