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RCA Alumni Fire Protection System Automist Awarded Prestigious Red Dot

Automist Smartscan has been awarded the sought-after Red Dot: Best of the Best, the highest accolade available from the annual Red Dot Award for Product Design. This year the prize received over 5,200 entries and Automist Smartscan was one of just 79 to be awarded the highest distinction: Best of the Best.

Automist Smartscan is the most recent fire protection product to be developed by Plumis, a business launched with the support of InnovationRCA. In 2009 IDE graduates Yusuf Muhammad and Paul Thomas won the Dyson Award with their initial Automist design; a heat-activated fire protection system fitted to a kitchen tap.

Discussing the design Sir James Dyson said: ‘This simple but clever device should become a permanent safety feature in the home. Smoke alarms are an essential part of modern life but have remained fundamentally unchanged for 40 years. Automist not only detects a fire but can put it out as well.’

Since their launch Plumis have developed a range of novel solutions for home fire protection, and in 2014 they were awarded the Innovator of the Year Award at the Growing Business Awards.

The Automist system runs from the mains water supply and ,unlike traditional sprinkler systems, does not require a large storage tank, providing affordable and discreet fire protection to homes where previously it was impractical. This innovative system allows property developers more freedom and flexibility when designing for open-plan spaces, in new builds, refurbishments or loft conversions, by providing a less obtrusive way to meet strict fire regulations. 

Councils housing vulnerable residents and developers of student housing have also used Plumis’ products. The team have developed a Personal Protection System in consultation with the Dorset Fire Service, which provides protection for vulnerable people who are immobile or because of mental and physical health issues are more prone to starting fires accidentally. 

The Red Dot awarded Automist Smartscan, is a modern, smart equivalent to the traditional fire sprinkler system. Rather than using spray heads located on the ceiling, a wall-mounted nozzle with a rotating head directly targets fires with a powerful jet of water mist. Heat sensors both trigger the system and are used to directly target the fire. The mist removes heat and displaces oxygen from the fire zone, controlling, suppressing or entirely extinguishing the fire. It has been proven to achieve the same performance as residential sprinkler systems and uses 90 per cent less water, minimising water damage to properties.

‘Automist is rising in popularity among architects and builders for being super easy to retrofit – without requiring a tank or network of pipes’ Yusuf explained. ‘It offers more than a reliable safety device for fighting fires; it’s an intelligent, modern design feature offering greater flexibility for projects with challenging building regulations, from loft conversions to more open-plan homes and flats.’

The Red Dot Award for Product Design is open to industrially manufactured products available to the market. This year the judging panel was made up of 41 experts from around the world, including freelance designers, design professors and specialised journalists. New members of the panel for 2016 included Hideshi Hamaguchi, Kristiina Lassus and Raj Nandan.

The independent panel assessed each entry on-site in Essen, Germany, according to criteria such as degree of innovation, formal quality, functionality and ecological compatibility. The Red Dot: Best of the Best is only assigned to outstanding products in a category that win the jury members over with ground-breaking design.

Automist Smartscan will go on display with other winners at the exhibition Design on Stage – Winners Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016, 5 – 31 July 2016, at the Red Dot Design Museum, Essen.

More details can be found about Plumis on their website.

More details of the Red Dot Award and exhibition can be found on their website.

InnovationRCA has incubated 25 start-up businesses from 44 RCA alumni, more than any other UK university, according to the 2015 HEFCE report 'Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start-ups'.