The international James Dyson Award is a design competition open to current and recent design engineering students celebrating great design engineering. For the first time ever, the award has landed in Canadian hands, with Waterloo-based Voltera.
Founded by four University of Waterloo students, Voltera was recognized for its Voltera V-One project, a custom circuit board printer that only takes a few minutes to turn a design file into a prototype circuit board. Beating out competitors from over 20 countries, Voltera will be awarded $54,000, while its University of Waterloo engineering department will receive $9,000 from the James Dyson Foundation.
“We spoke to many experts who told us we were too ambitious and that it was impossible.”
“We’re at a critical point with Voltera V-One. Our parts are being manufactured in China and we are doing further testing at our office and our assembly line in Canada,” said Jesús Zozaya, co-founder of Voltera. “The $54,000 we’ve been awarded as winners of the James Dyson Award will help us to ramp up production.”
For a team that raised $70,000 in 35 minutes during its Kickstarter earlier this year, the technical recognition can be taken as further validation for Voltera’s vision. “When we first started the company, we spoke to many experts who told us we were too ambitious and that it was impossible to create a tool that could effectively prototype circuits,” said Alroy Almeida, co-founder of Voltera. “We took that as a challenge!”
For his part, James Dyson, a renowned designer in his own right, agreed with Voltera that the challenge was worth the effort.
“The Voltera V-One team is made up of four impressive young graduates. Their solution makes prototyping electronics easier and more accessible—particularly to students and small businesses,” said Dyson. “But it also has the potential to inspire many more budding engineers, something I am very passionate about indeed.”