A young kiwi inventor has designed a tree house platform allowing kids to have DIY fun, whilst also not damaging the tree in which they are building their abode.
Jason Khoo is a 24-year-old industrial design graduate from Massey University, and took out the top prize in the New Zealand leg of the fifteenth James Dyson Award.
The global product design competition, supported by the James Dyson Foundation, is aimed to encouraging the next generation of design engineers.
Khoo's design is a pre-built foundation for a tree house, which can be easily mounted in a tree without the usual labour involved in traditional building methodds.
Called the Tree Mount, it provides the opportunity for children and their families to be creative and enjoy the outdoors, whilst not inflicting harm on the tree.
The removal of a bespoke permanent attachment usually required when building tree houses means the Tree Mount can be relocated. Families can source their own tree house materials and plan their own design to function in conjunction with the supplied bracket.
"I spent my childhood riding bikes and climbing trees," says Khoo, sharing the intention behind his design. "Now society is too busy and technology is now limiting self-time. I hope Tree Mount will counter this by giving people a purpose for taking time out to enjoy nature, use their creative minds and build something with their hands."
Khoo wants to advance on regular practices for the better.
"I'm really interested in how design can utilise new technologies for products that can be used in nature, while still retaining a level of craftsmanship," he says.
The judging panel was unanimous in their decision to give Khoo the top prize.
"In a current environment where we have so much digital distraction, this is a welcome break for parents and kids," says head judge Mike Jensen. "Interestingly Jason didn't start out designing a tree house product. A bit like how James Dyson created the first bagless vacuum out of his need for a vacuum to clean properly, Tree Mount addresses a need get more people outdoors and using their hands and creativity. The prototype is well resolved; actually Jason's model is amazing and for a student project, Tree Mount shows a strong understanding of aesthetic design."
Khoo receives $5,200 from the James Dyson Foundation, and an official fee prize package from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand tailored to his design's intellectual property needs, as well as a year's membership to The Designer's Institute.
The international design award is run in 20 countries and recognises emerging designers showing the Dyson philosophy - making things that help in everyday life.
Five New Zealand entries, including Jason's design and two runner up products, will progress to the international James Dyson Award competition. Each of these has a chance to win the grand winner's prize of $67,000 to put towards commercialising the idea, plus another $11,000 for their university.
The international winner will be selected by inventor of the bagless vacuum, James Dyson and announced on 10 November 2015.
Tree Mount is at this stage just a concept, and has not been commercialised. Click here for more information on Tree Mount.
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