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Special report: Designs of the future on display at University of Sussex
12:30pm Thursday 10th April 2014 in News
From first-time designers to pitching to entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den, the University of Sussex’s design show can act as a springboard to success.
Each year final year students proudly display their designs for the public to peruse at the apt Attenborough Centre Creativity Zone on the University of Sussex’s Falmer Campus.
They have spent hours in research and development, ironing out problems, modifying features and putting together a prototype.
This year products ranged from a posturecorrecting vest to an environmentallyfriendly shower head.
Behind each design is hours of hard work to ensure the final products are not just functional but also justified.
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The students have to road-test their ideas with the general public as well as produce all the marketing and promotional material.
The result is a collection of diverse and inspirational ideas that have been lovingly, though not without a fair degree of stress, put together.
It is hard not to be impressed by the creativity and attention to detail some of the designs display.
Course leader Diane Simpson-Little said: “Our product design students have demonstrated outstanding competence in research, critical analysis, design engineering, brand development and human-centred design.
“Their products draw on explorations into culture, psychology, ergonomics, art, science and commerce.
“Examples range from a posture correcting, electronic embedded vest to an opensource- design large format camera and a new packing concept for sandwiches that creates an edible landscape.
“Our 2014 product design degree show provides an opportunity to see not only the talent of our students but also the work of tomorrow’s leading designers.
“We get a lot of visitors to the show from designers, engineers and other experts in the field, so this is a great opportunity for our students to showcase their talents, ideas and design thinking.”
For more details about the design show visit http://createdbyusblog.com or visit The New Designers Exhibition http://www.newdesigners.com in London from July 2 to 5.
Past exhibitors at the show have gone on to bigger and better things after showing off their creativity to industry professionals.
2013 graduate Richard Ogodeton’s design for a bathroom product to reduce water wastage provided a solution to a real environmental concern.
His bypass system captures cold water before it escapes from the shower head and then mixes the collected water back into the shower stream during the course of the shower. This saves water that is normally wasted while the shower heats up. It also makes the shower more powerful.
His design was one of the winners of the 2013 StartUp Sussex competition. Since then, he has been working with the Sussex Innovation Centre to develop his product and it is currently on trial in the Grand Hotel in Brighton and has been shortlisted to appear on the BBC TV show Dragon’s Den.
There are also plans to use the innovation in university buildings.
Richard has stayed on at the University of Sussex to study for a masters degree in information technology with business and management.
Scott Mighall, who graduated from the course in 2013, invented a creative toy called Cachoo that encourages imaginative play and adapts as children grow.
It comprises three simple shapes made of birch ply and vinyl layers that, when assembled, work together in a variety of forms to make a car, a train, a horse, a boat or anything that a young child imagines.
Cachoo also incorporates a chalkboard and a whiteboard as the child grows older.
Stripped down to its final layer, Cachoo becomes a simple storage box or footstool or can even be passed on to the next generation.
Scott said: “Fast-changing technology means there is great demand among the young for the most new and relevant products.
“I wanted to create something that wouldn’t outdate itself, something that would tell a story about the owner and their life, and these are memories that I wanted to capture.”
Less than a year after leaving the university, Scott is now working for Dyson as a design engineer.
MAXIM GREW, 22
Max's love of photography inspired him to create an open source large format camera.
He said: “I have been really passionate about photography for a while and progressed into long format photography.
“I realised there was a problem in the market in terms of younger people being priced out because cameras can be very expensive.
“I wanted to develop an affordable camera which was accessible to all.”
Max came up with the intrepid large format camera.
It is assembled from pieces created by a laser cutter and 3D printer and the files can be downloaded and used by people across the world.
The designer said the large format camera brought the art back into photography in the digital age.
He added: “Some people prefer doing things slowly. Creating the picture is a bit of an art form. It comes from your brain and not from a micro-chip.”
Max said it was a “long journey” going from the initial idea to the final prototype but said it was “hugely satisfying”.
He added: “I have been getting positive reaction so far, which is really nice.”
STEWART GORDON, 46
Stewart decided to leave the Royal Marines after a 20-year career to study design.
He designed a bin to promote recycling called The Grin, which works in two ways.
It reduces the noise made when recycling glass bottles and offers a reward system to encourage people to recycle more glass.
Stewart said he thought of the concept during last summer’s bin strikes when rubbish was strewn across the streets in Brighton and Hove.
He said: “I was thinking about an idea and decided it would be something on waste or recycling.
“I spoke tomylocal councillor Gill Mitchell who put me in touch with Cityclean.
“They liked my initial idea but said they had an issue trying to get glass recycling into communities because it makes too much noise.
“So I developed something to reduce the noise of the bottles.”
Stewart said glass recycling could save the council more than £1 million a year as 60% currently goes to landfill.
His idea was to incentivise the scheme so an individual or community gets a share of the savings.
The bin has a card reader and it can detect the amount of glass deposited by the cardholder.
The more glass you recycle, the bigger your share for yourself or the community.
Stewart said it would take another six to 12 months before a fully-working model can be tested, but he hoped Cityclean would consider trialling it.
He added: “I spoke to the students here, who don’t like being woken up early, and they said one at the end of their road would be great.”
TESS KENNING, 21
Tess's project will really grow on people and, more specifically, walls.
The 21-year-old has designed a new type of sandwich packaging that doubles up as a grower for plants.
She said: “I wanted to look into packaging as it has elements of everything such as graphics and paper engineering.
“I wanted to see howit could be re-designed for the future.
“At the moment the design is not very intuitive.
It could be easier to use.
“I also wanted to change the way we think about ideas.”
The result was a rectangular sandwich package that is opened like breaking bread.
But the canny part is the packaging can be refolded into a planter, with seeds already in place.
When placed in a specially-designed holder the packaging decomposes allowing the seeds to grow.
Tess said: “It creates awareness and shows our use can have a big effect in a short amount of time.
“People can see it grow over time.”
The concept also encompasses “cradle to cradle” – where the herbs or lettuce grown could be incorporated into the sandwiches produced, creating a cycle.
Tess added: “People have been really interested.
Everyone loves the fact you can watch something grow.”
ANNE MARIE MARINHO DE LEMOS, 21
The lengths these designers go to for their work is summed up by Anne Marie.
As part of her research into her Grow Green Park project the 21-year-old had to spend hours travelling on the London Underground during rush hour.
She confessed to getting many strange looks as she took detailed notes during her journeys.
The fruits of her labour were the building blocks for her design which is aimed to reduce stress while commuting on the tube.
Her design sees Oyster users swipe their card and choose a flower which then begins to “grow” through digital projection on the other side of the platform.
She said: “I went to a TED talk which discussed howadults should be more playful and learn from children.
“I was interested in the psychology of play and how it affects health and combining this with stress relief.
“Everything pointed to commuter stress.
People want a way to relax.”
Anne Marie researched two installations called lost weeds and dunes, both of which used the concept of bringing nature indoors.
She said: “I thought I would do it in January and February as these often feel like dead and dismal months.”
The flowers in her digital installation exist in these coldmonths and AnneMarie said she wanted people to realise there was beauty around if they looked for it.
With the final prototype now on display, Anne Marie said: “It is really exciting.”
ABIGAIL BAINBRIDGE, 22
Worthing resident Abi wanted to do something based on family as she was passionate on the subject.
She spoke to play therapists who said doll’s houses were integral but there were “big flaws” – including being too big for the professionals who often have to travel with their work.
It inspired Abi to create the Flat Pack – a fully collapsible doll’s house for use in child therapy.
Abi added: “It only takes a minute to set up which is great as therapists have to move around a lot.
“I also included different ethnicities to promote diversity.
“And there are things like wine bottles to see how the child uses them.”
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