Breast self-check device wins UK Dyson award

The winner of the UK James Dyson Award 2022 has been awarded to a device to assist women in performing monthly breast self-checks.

Recent graduates of Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, Debra Babalola and Shefali Bohra, identified through their research that there are “lots of different methods and conflicting information advising women to perform self-checks”. Therefore they developed the device to try and promote early detection of any suspicious lumps or abnormalities within the breast tissue.

The tech, called Dotplot, is an at-home breast health monitoring tool that offers guided self-checks. It is designed to facilitate early detection and encourage a regular breast-self check routine. A user builds a personalised map of their torso and uses an app to guide them through the self-check. A sound signal is emitted to record the tissue composition at each site, with each month’s reading compared to the previous, to highlight any abnormalities developing in the tissue.

On winning the James Dyson Award, Debra commented: “Finding out that we had won the UK National James Dyson Award has been completely surreal. Seeing previous projects that have won the award has been so inspiring for us and winning this really takes us to the next level of our development.

“The goal is for Dotplot to make breast self-checks become routine for women across the globe and to help catch any suspicious changes as soon as possible.”

Shefali added: “We were shocked to discover that there are no products available that can assist women to carry out a breast self-check, so we set ourselves the goal of creating a device that can allow women to perform self-checks with clarity, ease and confidence.

“Winning the James Dyson Award gives us the validation that Dotplot is an idea worth pursuing. You need that motivation at each and every point of product design, especially when you hit a low.”

Debra and Shefali intend to commercialise the device, conduct further research and start official medical testing.

By winning this part of the award, the inventors will receive £5,000, and will now enter the international stage of the competition.