Designs for life

11 May 2009 11:52:00.000

PA 127/09

Plans to tackle crime and terrorism are among several designs that have earned top national recognition for students from The University of Nottingham.

A total of three top awards were won at the 2009 Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Design Directions competition. The final awards were presented at a special ceremony at the Home Office in London.

The RSA Design Directions competition is the biggest of its kind in the country and the most established, having run since 1924. It was recently described by the Telegraph as the "Oscars of the design world".

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The Design Directions awards challenge designers to address contemporary and often pressing issues such as crime, security, social concerns and health. The awards show the power design has to make a significant difference in individual lives and the wider community.

The standards are also exceptionally high with more than 1,500 entries each year, submitted by around 100 universities.

The winning third and fourth year students are part of an innovative design course in the School of M3 (Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering) at the University. The Product Design and Manufacture course takes a unique approach on helping students to come up with truly innovative designs.

Course Director, Simon Harrison, said: “Any win in this prestigious competition is seen as a great achievement for a student or a university. So to come away with so many awards is quite extraordinary.

“This is only the third year students from the Product Design and Manufacture course have participated, and already they have racked up an impressive number of awards. Last year we were shortlisted for five awards and we came away with three. This year we were shortlisted for 10 awards and have won three. ”

This year’s winners are:

James Peacock — ‘Camp-o-Lock’— a device which allows touring cyclists to lock up their bikes wherever they camp.

The design incorporates two pegs, a guide to hit them through and hammer; all of which fit neatly into a compact case which can be attached to the bicycle in a similar fashion to a bicycle pump.

Once hammered into the ground and fixed, the Camp-o-Lock can then be used to secure the bike.

The design means cyclists can secure their property wherever they are in the country, without having to find a structure to secure their bicycle too.

Meera Taank — ‘Wired for fitness’ — is a simple-to-modify and lightweight climbing wall, made from steel wire, which can easily be moved to any location.

The design transforms any urban wall into a purpose built climbing wall. This cost-effective and adaptable design is perfect for schools as it can be built on site and doesn’t require expert installation or intricate construction associated with traditional fixed climbing walls.

Jonathan Allott — ‘While you were sleeping’ — a self labelling syringe for use in operating theatres.

This truly innovative design aims to eliminate mistakes in syringe labelling, which can compromise patient safety, by making the syringe produce its own label automatically.

This ‘electronic paper’ attached to the syringe is capable of detecting the kind of drug being used and quickly shows how much is being drawn into the syringe.


Among the shortlisted students was David Ireland who chose to design a product to help protect people caught up in a terrorist explosion.

The ‘Personal Post Blast Protection’ jacket is designed to protect people from secondary blasts and falling debris. The Kevlar body armour would be stowed away in seats at venues like restaurants and cinemas for easy access and easy protection in the event of an attack.

Also designing out terrorism was fellow finalist James Orchard who has designed an innovative and versatile blast shield for public places.

The ‘Rapid Inflation (RI) Shield’ is a small compact box which, when placed in the right place and activated quickly and safely inflates to provide protection for several people. It is also ideally designed to protect property.

Also shortlisted were:

Jonathan Mason
David Anderson
Woosup Shin
Derik Chon
Nathanial Hunt.

Mr Harrison said: “We take a different approach to teaching this course at The University of Nottingham. The processes the students learn are the processes that are used every day in industry. Our students receive rigorous training in rapid prototyping and producing high quality visuals which gives them more time to concentrate on the design than spending more time in the workshop.

“This immerses them in the details of manufacture and ultimately leads to a far superior product. This gives our students an enormous advantage in the job market.”

The course is also relatively small with around just 30 students per year. This ensures one-on-one tutoring and fosters a sense of community. The students also work in the same space as final year students and staff which encourages them to learn from each other as well as staff.

— Ends —

Notes to editors: The winning students will be available to the media for interviews with their designs. To arrange an interview please liaise with Andrew Burden, Internal Communications Officer, The University of Nottingham — 0115 846 8313

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.

The University 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), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

Story credits

Andrew Burden

Andrew Burden - Digital Communications Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 8313 Location: University Park

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