This is an interesting lifesaving unit-From Australia
GRENADES are not exactly synonymous with life-saving, but they have inspired a young Sydney designer to create an award-winning device that could save swimmers from drowning.
Sam Adeloju's design, named Longreach, with the unofficial name ''Buoyancy Bazooka'', shoots an emergency flotation device 150 metres out to sea. Made from hydrophobic foam, the buoy can expand up to 40 times its size on contact with water so the swimmer can stay afloat without risk the buoy will spring a leak. The device is also equipped with flares for night-time.
The idea came to Mr Adeloju during Army Reserve training, when his instructors demonstrated grenade and flare launchers. He also took the idea of adding a whistle from a popular toy called a Vortex.
''I realised how ineffective a [standard] life ring would be if the drowning victim was a great distance from their rescuer.
''In my research I found a lot of surf-rescue teams ended up putting themselves in danger. I wanted to give them something that gave them time to assess the situation properly.''
After observing the grenade launchers in action, Mr Adeloju thought of ways he could improve on previous designs.
''Existing launch devices use compressed air and only have a range of 60 metres. My system spins as it travels through the air, which makes it easier to spot. It's the difference between a basketball and a bullet.''
The Longreach has a lightweight styrofoam casing, meaning if it hits a swimmer it is like ''being hit with a paper cup full of water'', he said.
Last night Mr Adeloju won the $16,000 James Dyson Award, which is named after the British designer of bagless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans. Included in his prize is a trip to the Dyson laboratories in Britain. The University of NSW, where he studies engineering, will also receive $16,000.
Mr Adeloju, the first Australian to win the award in its five years, is in talks with Surf Life Saving Australia about conducting field trials, but winning the prize will give the Longreach international exposure.
''They're [Surf Life Saving Australia] keen to get some money to do further testing and maybe get it into production,'' he said.
Mr Dyson said the Longreach was a ''smart solution to a very real problem. A product's functionality couldn't be more important when it's used to save someone's life."