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Design Duo From Innovation Design Engineering Win 2009 James Dyson Award

14 September 2009: Two designers from the Royal College of Art, Yusuf Muhammad and Paul Thomas, beat over 400 other contenders from 21 countries to win the international James Dyson Award, the international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.

Automist, a life-saving invention that could replace the smoke alarm as the essential home gadget was selected by James Dyson as the most outstanding entry in the competition. The duo take home a £10,000 cash prize, and in addition, the Innovation Design Engineering department at the Royal College of Art also receives £10,000.

The award-winning design can be fitted directly onto any standard kitchen tap to create domestic alternative to a sprinkler system. The device can both detect fires and put them out using by aerosolising the water from a standard kitchen tap.

In the event of a fire, a wireless heat detector triggers the under-sink pump which in turn drives mains water through a nozzle - quickly filling the kitchen with a fine mist to put out the blaze.

James Dyson said: “This simple but clever device should become a permanent safety feature in the home. Smoke alarms are essential part of modern life but have remained fundamentally unchanged for forty years. Automist not only detects a fire but can put it out as well.”

Since graduating from the College last year, Thomas and Muhammad have teamed up with graduate MBAs from Imperial College London through Design London and have started their own business, Plumis, to develop the technology behind Automist. They are currently finalising their business plan and aim to launch the system on the market in the near future.

Earlier this year, the James Dyson Foundation announced a major gift of £5 million pounds to help fund a major new building in the Royal College of Art’s expanding Battersea campus. The gift - the largest in the College’s history – marked the completion of the second phase of the RCA’s ambitious fundraising campaign.

The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson’s charitable trust, in 21 countries.