Fast circuit maker wins Dyson award

image copyrightKevin Fung
image captionThe Voltera One aims to speed up how quickly engineers can test designs for novel hardware

A high-speed printer that can produce circuit boards in minutes has won the Dyson engineering award.

The laptop-sized Voltera V-One uses different inks to turn circuit board designs into working prototypes.

It won the prize because of its great potential for speeding up the hardware design process.

The global competition aims to reward engineering students who create devices that solve real world problems.

Jesus Zozaya, Alroy Ameida, James Pickard and Katarina Ilic, from the University of Waterloo, in Canada, win £30,000 cash to help them finish making the Voltera V-One.

They have also raised more than $500,000 (£331,000) on crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

image copyrightJames Dyson Award
image captionThe printer lays down conductive and insulating inks and can also dispense solder paste to allow components to be added to the board

James Dyson said they were "impressive" and looked set to make prototyping "easier and more accessible".

Mr Almeida said: "When we first started the company, we spoke to many experts who told us we were too ambitious and that it was impossible to create a tool that could effectively prototype circuits."

The Voltera works by laying down different types of inks - one conducting and one insulating - to form a two-layer circuit board.

It can also dispense solder on to the board so individual components can be added to quickly make working hardware.

image copyrightDyson
image captionDyson award runner-up Dive Express lets recreational swimmers stay underwater longer and go deeper than they can with a snorkel

Runners-up include:

  • Express Dive - a small, self-contained unit used to stay underwater for far longer than a snorkel will allow
  • Green Fairy - biodegradable beads loaded with micro-organisms that can consume algal blooms that, if left unchecked, can denude rivers and lakes of fish and plant life

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