A 3D-printed nose guard has earned a Wellington student the top prize in the New Zealand leg of a global design competition.

Zach Challies took away the top prize in the New Zealand part of the James Dyson Awards for his shock-absorbing base for prosthetic noses.

Mr Challies learned that people who wear a prosthetic nose after an injury or surgery can have their prosthesis accidentally knocked off when playing sports or being jostled in busy places.

The 24-year-old Victoria University School of Design masters student created a scaffold that fits under the prosthesic nose to anchor it and prevent accidental movement.


The base is connected to the skull with magnets that fix to implants in the wearer's skull.

Mr Challies said his design can be printed for less than $50.

A second part of Mr Challies' design is a shock-absorbing guard for sports.

His design was a 3D printed facade and shock-absorbing guard that would sit flat against the face while still allowing air-flow.

Mr Challies said it would cost less than $100 and take two hours to print.

Current replacements for prosthetic noses cost more than $1000 and can take a while to be made, he said.

He researched the design through consultation with a person who wears a prosthesis and maxillofacial and prosthetic specialists.

"It's just nice to raise the awareness of this condition, this day-to-day struggle of someone who has to wear a prosthesis," he said.


The judges were unanimous in their decision.

David Lovegrove, head judge, said Mr Challies' design showed empathy for a delicate situation and the solution had real potential to make a significant impact to the wearer's confidence.

"Zach has undertaken a thorough exploration to address the problems facing wearers of nose prosthesis.

"His solution has the potential to improve the rehabilitation for someone who is vulnerable and self-conscious.

"He has given the wearer a number of viable options, whereas previously there have been no choices available in traditional prosthetics," he said.

Mr Challies won $4000 from the James Dyson Foundation, and an official fee prize package from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) tailored to his design's intellectual property needs, and a year's membership to The Designer's Institute.


Supported by the James Dyson Foundation, the international design award is run in 18 countries and recognises emerging designers who have developed inventions reflect the Dyson design philosophy, to make products that solve everyday problems.