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Loughborough graduate reaches international round of major design competition

A Loughborough University graduate has reached the international stage of a major design competition thanks to his inflatable incubator for disaster zones that costs just £250.

James Roberts’ design finished in the top five out of 75 entries in the national round of the 2014 James Dyson Award.

He now goes through to the international stage of a competition which boasts prize-money of £90,000. The winner, who receives £30,000, will be announced on November 6.

James, who is talking to companies interested in manufacturing his incubator, said: “I’m pretty happy, it’s nice that something you worked really hard for has been recognised.

“It’s great to be through to the international stage. I’m not getting my hopes up because there are a lot of good products this year.”

James has just graduated from the Design School’s BSc course in Product Design & Technology.

His incubator is aimed at saving the lives of new-born babies in refugee camps.

MOM, as he calls it, costs a fraction of the £30,000 of a normal incubator. It is inflatable, light and portable, provides stable heat and humidification, jaundice lighting and can run off a car battery for 24 hours.

James, 22, from Surrey, came up with his design as part of a final year project after watching a film about Syria, and hearing how many premature babies were dying in its refugee camps.

He believes MOM could be a life-saver in disaster zones and refugee camps where premature or vulnerable new-born babies may be days away from vital medical attention.

James has made two prototypes, a purely functional clear plastic box that demonstrates the technology, and an ‘aesthetic’ version that shows off what the product will eventually look like.

The James Dyson Award is aimed at celebrating, encouraging and inspiring the next generation of design engineers and is open to current and recent design engineering students.