Wakeboards and vacuum cleaners do not have much in common, but for one Christchurch industrial designer the combination has paid off.
Julian Schloemer, 23, a Massey University graduate, picked up the James Dyson Award for emerging product design at an Auckland ceremony last night.
The award, organised by the distributors of the vacuum cleaner brand, recognises emerging designers whose work shows an ability to think differently.
Schloemer won the accolade for designing a safer wakeboard binding, called Lucid, that reduced the chance of knee injuries.
A wakeboarder himself, Schloemer said the idea came to him after he injured his knee.
"I've experienced a knee injury from wakeboarding, which is common when a wakeboard hits the water at full force with one foot coming out of the binding while the other is still attached to the board," he said.
Traditional bindings hold the feet to a board, but Lucid's release mechanism allows the rider's feet to be freed when pressure is applied.
Award judge David Lovegrove said Schloemer's design showed several innovative features that combined to make a unique product.
"Julian's own experiences and injury have given him the insight to explore new opportunities in a product with many features that benefit the wakeboarder and which display a leap in technical sophistication."
Schloemer won a trip to Britain to tour Dyson's research and design facility. He is one of six New Zealand finalists who will progress to the international competition, with the chance to win a 20,000 ($42,000) prize package.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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