UBC James Dyson Award Attentiv team

The James Dyson Award (JDA) is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of engineering students to solve a real-world problem. Winning solutions are selected by Sir James Dyson.

Each year, one Canadian winner (awarded $3,000) plus two runners-up, each with a chance to win the international award and $50,000, are selected.

UBC James Dyson Award Attentiv

2020’s national JDA winners are an engineering team from the University of BC that invented Attentiv Catheter, a new type of catheter that uses bioelectric properties to monitor IV delivery and automatically signal when infiltration is detected. Attentiv was specifically designed to help prevent IV infiltration in neonatal ICU patients.

UBC James Dyson Award Attentiv

After interviewing over 70 clinicians and experts in neonatal medicine, the UBC students discovered that 23% of adults and 70% of neonatal patients experience IV infiltration. Attentiv uses a small sensor that differentiates between blood and tissue to localize the position of the catheter to determine if it has correctly entered the vein or is outside the vein, one of the causes of infiltration.

When infiltration is sensed, an alert is transmitted through a wire mounted along the IV tubing and broadcasted to a monitor, alerting the physician or nurse.

UBC James Dyson Award Attentiv

The proud UBC team wins $3,000 and advances to the next round of the award.

The two runners-up are both from the University of Waterloo with their solutions Scope and SmartPatrol.

Scope team, University of Waterloo


Mobile cameras are unable to produce high-quality zoomed photos, as their lenses cannot use physical movement to zoom without resulting image quality loss.

In order to solve this problem, University of Waterloo students engineered a lens using liquid crystals confined in a cell, rather than using curved glass or plastic (as seen on regular mobile cameras). When voltages are applied to the crystals, it allows for Scope’s lens optical wavefront to be dynamically shaped without physical movement, enabling a lossless camera zoom.

SmartPatrol team University of Waterloo


When skiers and snowboarders enter terrain parks, it can sometimes be difficult to see the landing area following a jump, which can lead to dangerous accidents.

SmartPatrol is a battery-powered, pole-mounted system that automatically monitors for hazards within dangerous areas of terrain parks and alerts uphill riders when it isn’t safe to continue down the hill. Additionally, it collects both video and stats on incidents so that ski operators can design safer terrain parks.

Congrats to all three university teams for helping to pave the way for innovative solutions to everyday problems!

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