• Dan Watson's award-winning SafetyNet allows small fish to escape.

    Credit: SafetyNet

    Dan Watson's award-winning SafetyNet allows small fish to escape.
Design thinking can be put to use not only in making technology more effective, but also in making it more humane. Dan Watson's new fishing net exemplifies this approach. The winner of this year's James Dyson Award—which recognizes significant design solutions to international challenges—Watson's revised net only traps mature fish, while providing escape valves for juvenile fish. Based on observations that large fish swim down under stress while smaller fish swim upwards, the recent Royal College of Art graduate created an illuminated exit path at the top of his net for smaller fish to escape. If implemented, Watson's net could diminish the great number of endangered fish that are caught and thrown away.

"This tangible technology approaches a serious environmental problem and we should celebrate it," James Dyson said in a press statement. "SafetyNet shows how young graduates like Dan can tackle global issues ignored by established industries in new and inventive ways."

Blaine Brownell is a regularly featured columnist whose stories appear on this website each week. His views and conclusions are not necessarily those of ARCHITECT magazine nor of the American Institute of Architects.