Design at Nottingham 2014: See tomorrow's ideas today

10 Jun 2014 16:27:08.287

A generation of design students at The University of Nottingham is creating innovative solutions to everyday problems.

The creations of 33 Product Design and Manufacture BEng/MEng students will be on display from June 13-16 at the Design at Nottingham Degree Show 2014.

The innovative degree – created by lecturer and course director Simon Harrison – combines engineering, design, product development, manufacturing processes and business studies. The emphasis is very much on inclusive, user-centred design.

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One product that sums up that ethos perfectly is James Langdon’s Gentle Guider.

After his family trained 12 Guide dogs, James decided the 80-year-old dog harness needed bringing into the 21st century.

The current harness is difficult to remove, comes in only three sizes and the rigid heavy handle can upset the dogs and is uncomfortable for owners.

James used 3D printing and engineering to develop a practical, ergonomical and individually tailored harness that combined aesthetics with the latest technological innovations and was better for the dog and the owner. The Gentle Guider won James a Highly Commended Award in the 2012 RSA Student Design Awards and a research grant from the University’s Vet School to develop the idea further with the school and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

He said: “With an ever-expanding and ageing population, the Gentle Guider is proof that innovation in social design is going to be even more essential in the 21st century.”

With an industrial placement with Heinz under his belt, James is now working with L’Oreal on a product that is due to be unveiled during London’s Fashion Week. Until then, it’s strictly hush hush.

Tom Parker, from Cambridge, has seen similar success. His eSteadyGoPro camera rig, which allows users to create high-quality footage by stabilising the camera, has been used by a BBC film crew for high-speed panning shots 

He won the Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Student Venture Challenge and is using his cash prize to develop his business, Motor Reflex. And not before time: he has 500 orders already.

Meanwhile, Lucy Elliott is creating a pushchair papoose. Negotiating an escalator with a child and a pushchair while hanging onto the handrail is no mean feat. Lucy’s creation allows the seat to be unclipped from the pushchair frame and clipped onto the parent as a sling, leaving the parent with just the pram to carry.

“We’re one of the best in this discipline,” says Simon, who brings his own industry experience to the course. “I’d say we’re second in the country, which isn’t bad considering the course was only launched 10 years ago.”

“We’ve got people doing oxygen systems for people with breathing difficulties, bicycle display stands for bicycle manufacturers, and the DryCuzzi – it’s like a Jacuzzi but it’s dry and it’s warm. There’s such variety, they make for really interesting shows.”

The show includes a selection of design work by students who worked with residents at Lark Hill retirement village in Clifton, Nottingham, in a series of workshops.  

Sixteen Lark Hill residents will visit the Design Show on Friday to see how the students interpreted their ideas.

Sue Cobb, Associate Professor in Human Factors, said: “We see this as an important part of our collaboration with members of the community and also is a nice way to celebrate the students’ work.”

Design at Nottingham Degree Show 2014 runs from June 13-16 at the Engineering and Science Learning Centre on University Park (no. 54 on the University map). Opening hours: 9am-5pm Friday and Monday, and 10am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

Tom Parker:

James Langdon:


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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with campuses in China and Malaysia modelled on a headquarters that is among the most attractive in Britain’ (Times Good University Guide 2014). It is also the most popular university in the UK among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the World’s Top 75 universities by the QS World University Rankings.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

Story credits

More information is available from Simon Harrison on +44 (0)115 951 3777

Karen Shale

Publications and Communications Manager
+44 (0)115 846 8545
University Park

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