A light-weight breathing apparatus that helps children to breathe and a RoboCop-style helmet are two UNSW student innovations to be recognised in a world-leading design competition.

The industrial design students took out two prizes in the Singapore-based Red Dot Design Awards.

ShanShan Wang was given the nod for an oxygen cylinder for children called “Roam”. The 22-year-old is also in the running for another major prize in the coming days – the Dyson international award.

Her device, which uses liquid oxygen, advanced materials and digital technology has reduced the canister size by 45 percent, giving young asthma sufferers a more normal life.

It is one of just 20 designs from around the world to be shortlisted for the awards, which is announced on 7 November.

“I didn’t expect to win any award,” says ShanShan, who is also teaching industrial design in the UNSW Faculty of Built Environment. “I just set out to design a product to help someone. That is the best thing for me.”

She won the Life Science category in the Red Dot Competition. Roam was also a finalist in the US-based IDEA awards and is currently being commercialised.

Also at the awards ceremony in Singapore, fellow student Alfred Boyadgis was presented with the prize for the Protection category for his futuristic helmet that has facial recognition technology and a fully integrated communications system. Watch the video here.

Currently, police officers on motorcycles have heavy helmets that are without any smart phone-style technology and communication devices available to other officers.

“Even though motorcycle police are often first on the scene, they rely on poor technology,” says Alfred, the 23-year-old industrial design student. “They sometimes even have mobile phones tucked under their helmets.”

The new lightweight helmet, which has received interest locally and internationally, enables rapid communication between emergency services. Among its features is a GPS and the first semi-modular visor system to increase vision and improve safety by more than 65 percent.

Alfred and ShanShan’s prototypes will be on display in the Red Dot Design Museum and will be featured online and in the accompanying yearbook.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media, 0422 934 024

Industrial designer ShanShan Wang and her award-winning lightweight oxygen cylinder for children