Each year, the James Dyson Award (JDA), an international design award, brings together young innovators (consisting of current and current design engineering students) from 27 countries and regions to find a champion design.
The 2020 national winner in Malaysia has just been announced. The recipient is Kuno, a sustainable refrigerator that does not require electricity to operate.
The young innovators behind it are Kuan Weiking and Theodore Garvindeo Seah from the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology. They receive 10,000 RM for their winning design.
Her inspiration for Kuno came from realizing that 16% of the world's population (an estimated 1.2 billion people) still do not have access to electricity.
Without electricity, many things that we take for granted could not work. Take a refrigerator, for example, to keep our food fresher longer, especially in our humid climate.
Even in urban areas, blackouts or blackouts can occur suddenly.
Instead of trying to tread the sun path, the two young men took inspiration from practices from another era of civilization.
How Kuno works
Centuries ago, Labu Sayong, a traditional earthen clay water jar, was used to naturally cool water.
This is the concept Weiking and Theodore wanted to use for Kuno as it only required natural resources that were in abundance while reducing its carbon footprint.
The duo uses the technique of double-walled potting and filling the passage between the clay walls with sand. Then water is poured into it to soak the sand.
A cross section of Kuno / Photo credit: Kuno
"With the help of the porous outer clay wall and the evaporative cooling principle, the heat is extracted from the inner chamber when the water evaporates, as it is released by the natural quality of the porous clay", describe Weiking and Theodore.
The natural phenomenon lowers the temperature in the chamber and cools the food that has been stored in the inner core for a longer period of time.
What I think is cool is how they made it virtually impossible for you to forget to pour the sand.
On top of the main fridge, they created a crater for a planter bowl that you can grow an edible plant in.
The plant bowl is lined with holes. Every time you routinely water the plant, the water will flow through the holes in the sand.
Weiking and Theodore began the design process with an initial mind mapping to identify current problems with poverty and how the people who live in it do not have access to electricity.
"Brainstorming and research was done to include the elements of sustainable materials and the study of natural renewable energy sources and enable the whole idea," the duo shared.
Then came the idea sketches and the sketches of the development stages.
The design sketch between development phases / Photo credits: Kuno
"The results of the temperature tests were also used and taken into account in order to determine which appropriate material selection should be used," describe Weiking and Theodore.
A handmade product with a potentially great impact
You now have a working prototype and see many opportunities for Kuno's growth in the home industry.
Dictionary time: The home industry is a small, decentralized manufacturing company that is often operated from home rather than from a purpose-built facility. They often focus on manufacturing labor-intensive goods, but have a significant disadvantage when competing with factory-based manufacturers who mass-produce goods.
The duo predict that Kuno's production style can help those in the stagnant home industry revive their incomes and create more job opportunities to make a living.
“The next plan is to set aside a fund for further materials research, prototyping of various sizes, testing in different weather conditions and regions, working with local pottery makers to create a small-scale production for market testing and then transferring them to appropriate ones Providing regions to kick off the use of Kuno, ”said Weiking and Theodore.
Big, big plans and I wish them every success.
However, I still have questions about the overall effectiveness of Kuno in keeping food fresh, e.g. B. How a user would know that the sand was sufficiently soaked, where Kuno should be placed, and how to keep pesky insects out.
As such, I have since reached out to both Weiking and Theodore through Dyson and will update the article with their responses as soon as I get them.
The duo will now compete internationally to get into the top 20.
- Read about Sarah Mois Eat, the national JDA 2019 winner in Malaysia. Just here.
- You can find out more about KUNO here.
Selected image source: Kuan Weiking and Theodore Garvindeo Seah, Malaysia's national winners for the James Dyson Award 2020.