Former daycare centre teacher Lim Zi Suen has been announced as the national winner of the James Dyson Award 2023 through her invention ‘Soapy’, an educational toy designed to teach children the proper way to wash their hands.

Lim, 24, who now works as a creative specialist in an interior design firm, said the inspiration behind the invention was the lack of adequate hand hygiene practices among children in a daycare centre where she worked as a part-timer from 2019 to 2022.

“Children tend to wash their hands too quickly without proper guidance, leading to the spread of infectious disease among children simply caused by the bacteria from the dirty hands. This issue needs to be addressed,” she told the media through an online interview held recently.

Lim also expressed her hope to continue expanding her idea and promote good hand hygiene practices with parents and in educational institutions.

She received RM26,500 as the national winner and progressed to the international stage, where she will stand a chance to win up to RM160,000.

The international top 20 shortlist will be announced on Oct 18, and the international winners on Nov 15.

‘Soapy’ is a sphere-shaped product with a 40-second timer and an indicator light that blinks like a UFO when the product starts its function. The scrubber is made of silicone rubber that will brush away dirt in a rotating motion. It also comes with a press system to dispense foam soap easily.

Meanwhile, a group of four from Taylor’s University Malaysia became the runner-up for their invention, ‘Braillepad’, a 3D printed tablet for the visually impaired to revolutionise learning with accessibility while solving manufacturing issues.

The group comprised Ng Yong Pong, Alantino Raven Daniel, Shannen Kay Chan and Tan Zi Qing.

Another runner-up, Wang Huangyutian from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology Malaysia, was selected for her invention, the nomadic seafaring life, which is a lamp to address the lighting and lifestyle needs of sea nomads with a sustainable approach.

The James Dyson Award forms part of a wider commitment by the founder, James Dyson, to demonstrate the power of engineers to change the world. The competition has supported over 300 inventions with prize money.

The international winner chosen by Dyson himself will be awarded up to RM 160,000, while two runners-up will receive RM26,500 each.

The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology and the Foundation’s work encourage aspiring engineers and problem solvers to apply their knowledge to discover new ways to improve lives through technology.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency