Success for Product Design students

   
   
20 May 2008 13:29:00.000

An innovative mobile text messager, a revolutionary adjustable toilet and a customisable ileostomy bag - three contemporary designs by students at The University of Nottingham - have won awards in the UK's leading student competition for socially responsible design.

The designs, by students at The University of Nottingham, were among over 1100 entries considered by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The Design Directions competition is a prestigious scheme that has been run since 1924

Thomas Kenworthy, Sam Donegani and Alex Bone are studying product design and manufacture in the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. Among past winners of these awards are Jonathan Ive, who went on to design the Ipod, Andy Clark who has since designed the Heathrow Express Train and fashion designer Betty Jackson MBE.

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An innovative mobile text messager, a revolutionary adjustable toilet and a customisable ileostomy bag — three contemporary designs by students at The University of Nottingham — have won awards in the UK's leading student competition for socially responsible design.

The designs, by students at The University of Nottingham, were among over 1100 entries considered by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). The Design Directions competition is a prestigious scheme that has been run since 1924.

Thomas Kenworthy, Sam Donegani and Alex Bone are studying product design and manufacture in the School of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering. Among past winners of these awards are Jonathan Ive, who went on to design the Ipod, Andy Clark who has since designed the Heathrow Express Train and fashion designer Betty Jackson MBE.

Fourth year student, Thomas Kenworthy, received the TTP Design Internship worth £5,000 and The BT Award of £1,000 for his mobile text messager which addresses the needs of older users. Rather than pressing buttons users simply draw each letter of their message on a touchpad. His research, which was praised by the judges, showed that SMS texting appears to be the preserve of the younger generation — it found that 94 per cent of 16-24 year olds and just 17 per cent of people aged 65 and over were using text messaging. After researching existing literature on age related difficulties and interviewing older users about the problems they have with texting he designed a simple messager with a phonebook, clock and calendar.

Tom said: “I was delighted when I found out I was a winner.  There is overwhelming competition to secure graduate jobs in product design so winning this prestigious award is likely to open doors and help boost my career prospects as a designer”.

Alex Bone was awarded the NESTA prize of £2,000.  His idea for a custom designed ileostomy bag won praise, not just from the judges but from agony aunt Virginia Ironside who was fitted with a colostomy bag after surgery for Ulcerative Colitis. Her article in the Daily Mail congratulated him for designing a bag which comes in a variety of shapes and colours from bright green to shocking pink. His idea has already attracted interest from the NHS, and he is currently looking for a development partner to take the design to market.

Sam Donegani won The Mercer's Award of £1,000 for his height adjustable toilet which the judges acknowledged for addressing a very important need in the home and in public spaces. Samuel researched the problems faced by children and older people but soon realised that people of all ages and abilities can have difficulties using a standard toilet.

Every year the product design students at The University of Nottingham put on an exhibition of their work. This year, for the first time, it will feature the work of fourth year students as the first cohort graduates this summer. The exhibition will run from the 30 May 2008 to 2 June 2008 at the Lakeside Arts Centre on the University Park Campus.

Course Director, Simon Harrison, said: “We are all incredibly proud of the results.  It's a real achievement for the students.  We are a small, new course with high ambitions of being one of the top in the country.  Results such as these show the commitment of both staff and students to achieving this.”

The RSA will have an online exhibition of all the award winning designs. This will be launched on the 23 May 2008 at www.rsadesigndirections.org


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 70 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

It provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia.

Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy).

Its students are much in demand from 'blue-chip' employers. Winners of Students in Free Enterprise for four years in succession, and current holder of UK Graduate of the Year, they are accomplished artists, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators and fundraisers. Nottingham graduates consistently excel in business, the media, the arts and sport. Undergraduate and postgraduate degree completion rates are amongst the highest in the United Kingdom.

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More information is available from Simon Harrison on +44 (0)115 9513777, simon.harrison@nottingham.ac.uk
Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: lindsay.brooke@nottingham.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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