Porirua designer pick of the crop
A tree-harvesting device devised by Porirua man Nick Ross has won a national James Dyson Award, which recognises innovative feats in design.
The 25-year-old Massey University industrial design graduate wowed judges with the Axolotyl, a tree-cutting vehicle with the potential to revolutionise the forestry sector.
Mr Ross, now based in Sweden, did not return home for the award ceremony in Auckland last Thursday. He has been busy presenting his invention to forestry manufacturers.
The Axolotyl, named after the endangered Mexican walking fish, is designed to cut and separate tree trunks, branches and needles on site, and return its nutrients to the ground for natural regeneration. In doing so it bypasses current tree harvesting methods that require return visits to the forest by heavy trucks causing soil compaction and damage to surrounding trees.
“Over the past years I have noticed the forests decreasing and I started my project questioning why this was happening,” Mr Ross said.
“I absorbed myself with forestry specialists and Scandinavian forestry equipment manufacturers and their users to uncover their expertise.”
At present Mr Ross has a prototype of his design and is in discussions with the Scandinavian forestry industry to commercialise it.
Awards head judge David Lovegrove, from the Designers’ Institute of New Zealand, praised the research that went into the design, which he called “the best research project we’ve seen from New Zealand entries’’.
“He didn’t set out to design a tree harvester. He approached the design with the simple question, how do you grow trees better? So we were encouraged to see sustainability was a core motivation in the product’s development, and during the design process.”
The Axolotyl will compete
Porirua inventor Nick Ross with his award-winning, ecofriendly tree-cutting device, the Axolotyl. against designs from 18 other participating countries for the international James Dyson Award to be announced in November.
package includes a trip to Britain courtesy of the British Council New Zealand, with $3000 travelling money. He will also meet key members of the British design community.