Limerick student’s design wins Dyson award

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Cathal Redmond (26), a product and technology design student at UL, is pictured with his winning invention 'Express Dive' at the Olympic-sized Pool at the University of Limerick Sports arena. Picture:Marie McCallan/Press 22
Cathal Redmond (26), a product and technology design student at UL, is pictured with his winning invention ‘Express Dive’ at the Olympic-sized Pool at the University of Limerick Sports arena. Picture:Marie McCallan/Press 22

UNIVERSITY of Limerick student Cathal Redmond (26) has won the prestigious 2015 Irish James Dyson Award with his invention, ‘Express Dive’, a new lightweight underwater-breathing system.

Cathal will receive a cheque from the James Dyson Foundation for €2,500 and will proceed to the international stage of the competition, competing against students from 20 countries for the overall prize of €37,500 to develop his design.

Express Dive allows divers to breathe underwater for up to two minutes.

Once the air supply begins to run out, the user simply resurfaces and holds a button to refill the one-litre tank.

The design overcomes the complexities of a scuba set-up by reducing the number and size of parts needed to breathe underwater, vastly reducing the weight and size of the breathing apparatus.

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Unlike traditional snorkels, Express Dive allows the user to dive to much greater depths as it has its own separate air tank.

Meanwhile a full scuba kit can cost in the region of €3,000, as opposed to an estimated €400 for Cathal’s device.

The keen scuba diver says he came up with the idea while on holiday in Greece.

“I was on a boat excursion when I saw a shiny object on the seabed. I wanted to be able to go a little further than I could with just my lungs, but of course I did not have scuba equipment with me.

“I saw a need for something lighter, inexpensive and portable that everyone could use for leisure diving. Scuba equipment is bulky and expensive and the preparation process is rigorous and time-consuming. When your air runs out you are done until your next fill.”

The global shortlist will be announced on September 17, and 


Cathal hopes to bring Express Dive to market in early 2017.

“Express Dive is an ideal stepping stone to compressed air diving. It would suit divers of all experience levels,” he explained.

Four other Irish student inventions have been shortlisted to proceed to the international stage of the James Dyson award.