Glasgow graduate short-listed for James Dyson Award

Published: 28 September 2010

Product Design Engineering graduate Ian Guy's innovative solution to the potentially lethal problem of air entrainment in intravenous drip lines has been short listed for the James Dyson Award.

Ian Guy, a recent Product Design Engineering graduate, from the Glasgow Schoolof Art & University of Glasgow, has been short listed in the Top 20 Semi-Finalists from over 500 International entries in the James Dyson Award – a competition which champions innovative design engineering geared at solving real human problems.

The 20 year old from Lochwinnoch, who is the only Scottish entrant to be short listed, has spent the past year working with leading anaesthetists at Glasgow’s RHSC Yorkhill to tackle the problem of Air Entrainment in Intravenous Drip Lines. intravenous infusion

As complicated as this sounds, Ian explains that “Air Entrainment is simply the problem of air bubbles forming in the infusion line. These bubbles cause a variety of problems, mainly staff distraction which consequently lowers patient safety – you don’t want to be wasting time removing air bubbles if a patient falls into a critical condition in theatre. At the extreme end of the spectrum these bubbles can result in fatality via air embolism – this is when a bubble passes into a patient’s bloodstream and stops blood flow. The solution seems initially surprisingly lowtech,however for me a true solution not only needs to solve the problem, but also be easily manufactured, implemented within an already over-complicated medical environment and also compete with existing less safe products price points, so for these reasons after exhaustive enquiries into more ‘hi-tech’ ideas, a simple modification to the existing drip chamber was the most viable option, both with respect to the engineering challenge, clinicians opinions and commercial viability.”

Ian’s design includes the addition of a small floating seal which prevents “air entrainments from rigid fluid containers running dry – the most dangerous mechanism of entrainment due to the large volume of the air entrained, and the time consuming removal method.”

This year Ian has already placed 2nd in the University of Glasgow’s Big Idea Award,and won the Science, Engineering & Tech Category in the Scottish Institute for Enterprise’s New Ideas Competition securing funds to patent the device.

“Winning the Dyson Award would provide me with funds to secure the patent internationally and publicity to get under the radar of larger medical manufacturers who have the power and funds to take this project further.”

Ian is currently living and working in Romania at a Packaging Design Consultancy. The winner of the James Dyson Award will be announced by James Dyson on the 5 October 2010 and receive £10,000 to develop their project, and £10,000 for their University Department.

Further information: Martin Shannon, Senior Media Relations Officer, University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8593 

First published: 28 September 2010