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Get your thinking caps on for James Dyson Award 2012

Entries open for James Dyson Award
Oh this? It just came to me in the bath

The annual James Dyson Awards is back with its frustratingly obvious yet incredibly tricky brief for student designers and engineers: develop a problem solving invention.

Last year's winner solved the problem of drought by inventing the Airdrop, which captures moisture from the air, condenses it underground then delivers it to plant roots.

If you've got something in mind that could prove equally handy to the world, you'll need to be resident in one of 18 countries (head over to to see the whole list), a current student or have graduated within four years, and get your entry in by 2 August.

Thinking caps on

Sir James Dyson, whose capacity for invention goes far beyond the bag-less vacuum cleaner, has some advice: "Original ideas and rigorously engineered projects will attract the attention of the judges. I challenge applicants to think big and use the award as a springboard for your idea."

For your inventing smarts, you could win £10,000 to work on your invention, while your university department also nets £10,000 – winners will be announced on 8 November 2012.

While Dyson's competition is not quite as lucrative as Qualcomm's $10 million prize fund for inventing a tricorder, it may prove slightly less impossible.