International honour for Limerick graduate

Limerick Cathal Redmond
UL graduate Cathal Redmond who was runner-up in the international James Dyson awards.

A 26 year old University of Limerick graduate has been announced as one of two runners-up in this year’s international James Dyson award for his invention – Express Dive.

Invented by product design graduate, Cathal Redmond, ‘Express Dive’ is a new lightweight underwater-breathing system, which 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.

Cathal, who received €2,500 when he won the Irish leg of the award earlier this year, will now receive a further €7,000 from the James Dyson Foundation to develop his product.

He is one of just three students (the overall winner and one other runner-up) out of over 700 entrants from 20 countries worldwide to receive an international prize. He is the first Irish student ever in the eleven year history of the awards to win an international prize.

His 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 Redmond’s device. Redmond, from Bunclody in Co. Wexford, designed the product as part of his degree course in product design and technology at the University of Limerick, from which he graduated this year.

He now hopes to set up his own company to bring Express Dive to market:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be a global runner-up in the James Dyson award. The support I’ve received over these past months since I was shortlisted has been phenomenal, and I just want to thank everybody who has helped get me here, I couldn’t have done it without them. Since winning the Irish leg of the award and talking to different people, I’ve seen there is a huge appetite for Express Dive – I’m going to spend the money developing the safety testing and getting it ready to sell!”

Product Design and Technology course director Muireann McMahon said it was a very proud moment for the University of Limerick and its graduates.

“We have had great recognition over the years through the James Dyson award, with a total of seven of our students to date either winning the Irish leg of the award or making the international shortlist , but this is the first time one of our students or any Irish student has won an international prize in the award.

“We are thrilled for Cathal. It is so important to see him get recognition for his innovation, creativity and extremely hard work. This is great for Ireland and opportune timing it being the Irish year of Design”, she added.

The overall winner of the 2015 international James Dyson award is the Voltera V-One rapid prototyping system, which prints circuit boards within minutes invented by a team of Canadian students from the University of Waterloo, Canada. The team will receive €40,000 to develop their invention.