The Voltera V-One, a custom circuit board printer, has been declared the international winner of the James Dyson Award for 2015.
A team of Canadian engineers have received one of the world’s most prestigious design prizes, the James Dyson Award, with a machine that prints out customised circuit boards at just the press of a button.
The Voltera V-One was designed by four engineering students from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and saw a successful Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the year. That drive raised $502,000 worth of funding, substantially more than their original goal of $70,000.
With the the Dyson Award, the team cap off a stunning year by beating finalists from 20 countries and winning one of the biggest accolades in engineering. The prize comes with a £30,000 (around $45,000) gift so they can further develop their invention.
How Does the Voltera V-One Work?
The Voltera V-One is a laptop-sized PCB printer, which is similar in many ways to the compact, additive manufacturing design of desktop 3D printers.
The custom circuit board printer lays down conductive and insulating inks to create a functional, 2-layer circuit board. It’s also a solder paste dispenser, allowing components to be added to the board and reflowed by a 550w heater.
The guiding principle is that additive manufacturing has transformed the way things are made, and who can make them. Voltera V-One promises to do the same for electronics. According to co-founder Jesús Zozaya:
“We’re at a critical point with Voltera. Our parts are now being manufactured and we are about to begin a new wave of testing in our lab. The $45,000 we’ve been awarded as winners of the James Dyson Award will help us to ramp up production and enhance testing.”
James Dyson, the man behind the James Dyson Foundation (and the inventor of some rather excellent vacuum cleaners) chimes in:
“Their solution makes prototyping electronics easier and more accessible — particularly to students and small businesses. But it also has the potential to inspire many more budding engineers. Something I am very passionate about indeed.”
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