The coveted 2015 James Dyson Award for innovative engineering has been snagged by four Canadian graduate students for a prototype circuit board printer dubbed the Voltera V-One.
The brainchild of Katarina Ilic, Alroy Ameida, James Pickard and Jesus Zozaya from the University of Waterloo, Canada, the Volter V-One edged out Express Dive and Green Fairy in the process.
The Voltera V-One won the Dyson award as it showed immense potential in hastening the design process for hardware. The competition perseveres to encourage engineering students who develop gadgets that can aid in resolving real-world issues.
So what is the Voltera V-One, you wonder? It is essentially a high-speed printer which is capable of translating your circuit board ideas to reality in a matter of minutes. It 3D prints the printed circuit boards or PCBs.
"Print your circuit boards, dispense solder paste, and reflow! The Voltera V-One lets you go from concept to creation in minutes," notes the device's description on Kickstarter.
The Voltera V-One is the size of a laptop and deploys varied layered inks to convert the design of a circuit board into a functional prototype. The different ink types basically form a two-layer circuit board where one conducts and the other insulates.
The high-speed printer is also able to dispense solder paste on the circuit board, which aids in the addition of single components being added swiftly to create functional hardware. The gadget also has a 550w heater.
With the device, engineers and inventors would be able to develop microelectronic components which would otherwise need to be ordered, as well as created offsite.
The graduate students won £30,000 ($45,474) in cash, which will aid them in producing Voltera V-One printers. They have also raised over $500,000 on Kickstarter whereas the pledged goal was $70,000.
Sir James Dyson, from the James Dyson Foundation charity which backs the award, was impressed by the students' invention.
"Their solution makes prototyping electronics easier and more accessible, particularly to students and small businesses, but it also has the potential to inspire many more budding engineers; something I am very passionate about," says Dyson who was instrumental in choosing the winners.
"It's very important to have in mind the next step in the assembly process, which is the placement process. At this stage you have two options, placing the components by hand or acquiring some placement equipment. Both comes with advantages and disadvantages, in most of the cases price being the deciding factor." says Jonathan B. from NeoDenUSA.