Loughborough graduate wins James Dyson Award after designing life-saving device

Recent Loughborough University graduate Joseph Bentley has been announced as the 2021 UK national James Dyson Award winner.

Joseph, aged 22 from Essex, designed REACT (Rapid Emergency Actuating Tamponade) – a device that aims to reduce catastrophic blood loss from a knife wound -  as part of his Product Design and Technology degree.

The current advice for treating stab wounds is to never remove the knife object from the wound if it is still in place. This is because the object is applying internal pressure to the wound site whilst also filling the cavity and preventing internal bleeding.

Joseph’s concept is based on the same principle, the implantable medical-grade silicone balloon tamponade would be inserted into the wound tract by a first responder.

The actuator device is connected to the tamponade valve, and the user selects the wound location on the device interface.

Squeezing the trigger on the actuator starts the automated inflation sequence, and the tamponade is inflated to a defined pressure based on the wound location to try and stem the bleeding.

During his prototyping, Joseph found that the simple application and automated inflation procedure of the REACT system could be a more effective method for first responders compared to traditional methods.

He claims his prototype tamponade could potentially be in place and stopping haemorrhage in under a minute, which Joseph estimates could save hundreds of lives a year.

The Award

This year, the award has seen its highest number of entrants ever across all 27 participating nations.

Winning the national leg of the James Dyson Award will inject £2,000 into Joseph’s project. REACT will also progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award.

In the interim, Joseph is working on securing a patent for this winning design, as well as progressing his concept further with the hope of one day fully commercialising the design.

On winning, Joseph said: “Knife crime is a topic that is personal to me, as two of my friends were victims of knife-related incidents. Thankfully both incidents were not fatal, but this is often not the case for so many others. Seeing the profound effect that it had on my friends and their families urged me to try and create a solution that could help others in the future.

“I was thrilled when I found out I’d won the national James Dyson Award. This prestigious endorsement confirms that the REACT concept could have real world benefits and a positive impact on society. Although medical device testing takes a long time, I’m looking forward to using the prize money to develop my innovation further and hopefully see the device in the hands of first responders saving lives.”

Dr Alex George, Dyson Ambassador and A&E Doctor commented: “Sadly, knife crime is on the rise and we’re seeing more and more incidents of knife related injuries in A&E departments in London and across England and Wales.

“Although more needs to be done in the wider community to tackle knife crime at the source, Joseph’s REACT concept could be an impressive solution to help first responders, police officers, and medical professionals deal with these types of injuries, should it pass its medical trials. Time is of the essence in treating these types of injuries and the REACT system could help buy some valuable time before full medical treatment can be administered.

“It’s great to see the James Dyson Award recognising young inventors, and I look forward to seeing how Joseph and the REACT device progress in the future.”  

The international shortlist will be announced on 13 October 2021 and the international winners on 17 November 2021. The international winner receives a prize of £30,000, plus £5,000 for their university.

Read more about REACT and the inspiration behind the device in an earlier press release by the University.