PRODUCT designer and University of Limerick graduate Cathal Redmond has been named runner-up in the International James Dyson Award Competition for his innovative ‘Express Dive’ underwater breathing system.
The competition drew more than 700 entries from all over the world.
Cathal (26), who graduated with a BSc in Product Design and Technology from UL in August, won the 2015 Irish James Dyson award in September and finished as one of the top three in the International stage award.
He is the first Irish student in the eleven-year history of the awards to win an international prize.
“It’s been a whirlwind ride up to this point and I’m so excited to have so much encouragement and support from so many people. It’s unbelievable,” said Cathal.
Cathal received €2,500 upon winning the Irish leg of the award earlier this year, and will now receive a further €7,000 from the James Dyson Foundation to develop his product.
“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,” he revealed.
‘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. It combines the technological advancements of scuba diving with the ease of a snorkel system, making the system more user friendly for novice users.
A full scuba kit can cost in the region of €3,000, as opposed to an estimated €400 for the ‘Express Dive’.
UL Product Design and Technology course director Muireann McMahon said it was a very proud moment for the University of Limerick and its graduates.
“We’ve had great recognition over the years through the Dyson awards, with seven of our students 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”.