A UNIVERSITY of Limerick graduate will compete against students from over 20 countries around the world for a €37,500 prize this week.
Cathal Redmond, who graduated from the Product Design and Technology course in UL in August, is one of just two Irish students to have reached the final of the James Dyson International Design Competition, the winner of which will be announced next Tuesday.
Mr Redmond, who won the Irish James Dyson award in September, was shortlisted for the international competition for his Express Dive underwater breathing system.
Cathal’s design was selected as one of 20 finalists by Dyson engineers from over 600 entries worldwide to help further develop his device, which the prize fund is intended to facilitate.
The UL graduate was inspired to create the design following a boating trip to Crete.
In essence it is a handheld device that allows divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes.
Once the air supply begins to run out, the user simply returns to the surface and refills the one-litre tank.
The apparatus, which combines elements of scuba and snorkelling, is smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to use than any scuba system available on the market, retailing at €400 as opposed to €3,000.
Cathal said: “This light weight device is perfect for shallow surface-to-surface diving, exactly the kind done every day by novice explorers using snorkels.
“My device fills the space between snorkeling and scuba, scuba still exists for deeper diving, but my device makes the experience portable, refillable and more usable.
“The system comes equipped with a depth alarm and air shutoff to protect the learning diver from diving too deep, and a digital display of remaining air,” he added.