Design engineers win James Dyson Award prize for breast monitoring device


A woman examining her chest with the Dotplot device with one hand while holding a smartphone in the other

Graduates from Imperial College’s Dyson School of Design Engineering have won the national round of the James Dyson Award.

The James Dyson Award is an award for up-and-coming problem-solving inventors.

Debra Babalola and Shefali Bohra are recent graduates of the Master’s in Innovation Design Engineering, offered jointly by the Dyson School of Design Engineering and Royal College of Art.

Their device Dotplot is an at-home breast monitoring tool which gives clear guidance while women check their breasts for abnormalities. Dotplot was invented when one of the founders was advised to monitor a knot in their breast by their doctor and found a lack of at-home solutions to guide their examinations.

The Dotplot device - a round, handheld plastic device
The Dotplot device

The device was created in consultation with breast cancer surgeons, radiologists, GPs, and other scientific professionals and gives users an active, autonomous solution for monitoring their own health. Research by Dotplot found that current methods relying on demonstrations and tutorials left women feeling uncertain they were performing them correctly.         

Dotplot uses a handheld device that connects to an app to provide accurate monitoring of breast tissue composition. Once a personal profile is set up, taking into account the user’s menstrual cycle and a personalised map of the torso, the app guides users through the physical exam each month, comparing the current results to the baseline. The results can be sent directly to a GP, and a reminder will be sent to the user to consult with their doctor if abnormalities persist for three months.

On winning the prize, co-founder Debra Babalola said: ‘It's been unreal, we were really surprised to win it. We're thankful that Dotplot has been recognised and receiving the award has enabled us to share it with a wider audience which is amazing. It's especially exciting as previous winners have gone on to realise their products and solutions which is exactly what we are aiming to do.’

The Dotplot team previously won the Health and Wellbeing track of Imperial’s Venture Capital Challenge and received £30,000 in the grand final of the competition, the culmination of seven weeks of masterclasses and coaching. 

The national James Dyson Award prize is £5000. The international prize pot is £30,000 and the shortlist will be announced on 12 October before an awards ceremony on 16 November.

Debra said: ‘The cash prize will help us to continue refining and testing our technology. We want to get to the point where the product is robust enough to be used for clinical trials and the award helps us reach this goal.

Our next step is to grow our team which will help us bring together all the aspects of the technology. We'd like to recruit specialists in electronic engineering, data science, data engineering and app development to make this happen.’


Helen Wilkes

Helen Wilkes
Faculty of Engineering

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