Ever wonder what 750 Engineers do to break up the monotony of designing the world’s most successful and innovative line of fans, vacuum cleaners and hand dryers? Battling each other in a design challenge is one way. You may remember the article we had about Jude Pullen and Cardboard Modelling. He works for Dyson and sent us the scoop on this year’s extracurricular innovation.

Challenge Dyson

Challenge Dyson was created for the Dyson Design and Engineer teams to answer ‘what happens if…?’ with a challenge and a good use of salvaged product parts. This year’s challenge was to create a ball-based robot using old vacuum cleaner parts.

Jude’s team, Ball-der-dash, was winner of Most Ambitious Design Award. As Jude recounts, the construction “involved using two ‘omni wheels’– one to power forwards and one to steer left or right. The rolling mechanism needed to be weighted to give it a low centre of gravity. The two haves of the ball were made from PC for the rigid inside (rolling skin) and PET for the durable outside – seamlessly joined with recessed screw mounts and the surface was coated with a silicone rubber for grip. A small LED was placed at the ‘front’ so we could see which way the ‘hamster’ was facing.”

Who won? Team Drive took home the prize for competing the obstacle course with their tricycle style robot. It was one of four tricycle bot designs, but came out ahead, navigating each obstacle in it’s path with ease. See the video of the race day events below and if you want to see what else Dyson Engineers are up to, stories on the design process and other product video, be sure to check the Dyson Films Youtube Channel. OH, and if you’re in the UK, be sure to get to Jude Pullen’s Design Modeling Workshop. Sing up and get all the info here.

YouTube video


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.