A tractor that peels apples and sole searching scales

Issue date: 31 May 2013


Images of 'peel', 'grate' and 'Solesearch'

UWE Bristol Plan and Make Degree Show Thursday 6 to Saturday 8 June 2013

R block Frenchay Campus

Two of the most exciting exhibits at the Plan and Make Show at UWE Bristol include an innovative take on the Victorian apple peeler, designed to appeal to children and help them eat more healthily, and smart scales that are designed to monitor diabetes related foot ulceration.

Matt Granger Final Year Creative Product Design

Inventor and designer - 'Solesearch'

Working closely with Diabetes UK and Bath Institute of Medical Engineering BIME Matt Granger discovered that there were around 6,000 foot amputations resulting from insulin mismanagement every year. He has designed 'Solesearch' – a set of smart scales that monitor changes in the feet making it easier for GPs to channel appropriate foot care.

'Solesearch' analyses vibration sensitivity and includes an optical test for pressure points as well as recording weight. The scales work in parallel with an App in a Smart device using Bluetooth that enables foot analysis of these three key areas over time.

Matt has already secured employment with Vax as a Junior Design Engineer but he has also been asked to apply for a sponsored grant or PhD project by Diabetes UK. A contact at Kings College Hospital in London is also interested conducting medical trials using 'solesearch'.

Matt says, “One of the hardest things to do for the final year is to find a product that is needed. I spent time with Professor Levy at the BRI in Bristol who is the inventor of the Vibratip; a support group in South Gloucestershire for Diabetes UK as well as clinicians at BIME to help inform the background research for Solesearch.

“The course at UWE has been great; the placement year with Numatic was brilliant and certainly helped to focus my mind for the third year as it helped me to develop professionally and gave good insight into what is required of a design engineer.”

Matt Stubbs

Inventor and designer - 'peel' and 'grate'

Matt Stubbs set himself the challenge of making healthy eating fun for children. He has designed two linked products that could easily develop into a range of 'toys' that also prepare food. 'peel' looks like a tractor but has a mechanism inside the body based on the Victorian apple peeler that peels, cores and slices the fruit into spirals as the tractor is pushed along, therefore making it easier and fun for the child to eat.

The second product in the range is called 'grate' and will eventually be turned into a helicopter shape. Using a rip cord mechanism linked to a gear box 'grate' can grate vegetables of all shapes and sizes. Matt has a patent pending on this range of products.

Matt said, “I want to get children to eat more healthily and I found that if children prepare food they are more likely to eat it. Fun shapes also have an impact on the appeal of food to children. When I researched for this project in schools I cut carrots into sticks and discs but also used a shape cutter. The children all selected the shaped carrots in preference saying that they tasted better.

“The design process for my two products has gone through much iteration. I started off with shape cutters, moved on to the idea of a food preparation station with a range of tools and then progressed to the dual purpose toys.”

Matt spent a placement year with Arno GB which he says was critical in terms of learning about time management, work ethic and professionalism. He has secured employment on the Dyson Graduate Scheme.

Asked about the course Matt said, “What sets the UWE Bristol course apart is the fact that we are encouraged to design completely new products that improve people's lives and wellbeing.

It's not just about designing aesthetic things; it's more about designing products that are useful and innovative.”

The annual 'Plan and Make Degree Show' includes final year work and exhibits from students studying across a vast range of programmes including Computer Science and Creative Technology, Construction and Property, Engineering Design and Mathematics, Geography and Environmental Management and Planning and Architecture.

This celebratory event gives students the opportunity to discuss their work with others, including their peers, families, potential employers or even future business partners.

For further details click here.

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