The new ‘spinning’ turbine was devised bytwo Master’s degree students studying at Lancaster University: Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani. It has the potential, according to The Guardian, to transform how consumers generate electricity. The James Dyson Award is a national and international student design award that sets out to challenge young people to “design something that solves a problem”. The award was established by inventor James Dyson and it is run by the James Dyson Foundation. Wind power has an effective application as a source of renewable energy in relatively flat areas. A big limitation with wind farms is that they can only capture “horizontal” wind. This means conventional wind turbines are not suitable for cities, since wind tends to blow in a multi-directional fashion. This has been overcome with the O-Wind device, according to Nicolas Orellana, who told the BBC: “If we could find a solution that caters for the half of the world’s population who live in cities, we could give these people an opportunity to generate their own energy and contribute to the environment.”

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The challenge was won thanks to the device’s unique design. The O-Wind turbine is a spherical device which sits on a fixed axis. The geometric structure of the machine’s vents allows it to spins when wind hits it from any direction. The wind energy turns the device which triggers a generator, which, in turn, converts the wind energy into electricity. This can either be used as a direct source of power or it can be fed into the electricity grid. The next stage of the Dyson award process is the international award, which will be announce din November 2018. In 2017, the international Dyson Award went to sKan, a low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device, invented at McMaster University, Canada (as reported on Digital Journal).