Egg shaped baby incubator launched at UWE Technology Show

Issue date: 05 June 2008

Egg shaped baby incubator by Doug Campbell Bristol Institute of Technology, UWE, Frenchay Campus
UWE Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 June 2008
Launch 18.00 Tuesday 10 June 2008

Bristol Design Festival at the Old Fire Station
Friday 13, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 June 2008
Launch 18.00 Friday 13 June 2008

Students at the Bristol Institute of Technology based at the University of the West of England are showing off final year project work at two venues this year to coincide with the Bristol Design Festival under the brand name 'Expression'.

UWE Product Design graduate, James Dunlop who has had tremendous success with the MyHab project that he designed during his final year at UWE in 2006 will give an opening speech at the UWE show.

Amongst the many innovative designs is a revolutionary egg shaped baby incubator designed by Product Design student Doug Campbell. Doug's incubator is designed in such a way that it helps nurture the essential bonding between parents and new born children that can be marred by current box shaped incubators. Doug said, “A friend of mine had a caesarean section last year and her baby had to be confined to an incubator for long periods. I was inspired to design my incubator in such a way that would allow parents to get close to their new born babies even when they are hooked up to monitoring and life saving equipment in incubators.

“My incubator is shaped like an egg - emulating an aesthetic that appealed to me – I was very influenced by Aeron Chair designed by Bill Stumpf in the 1990's. The egg shape is by its very nature a protective shape but in terms of hygiene and practicality the hemisphere shaped lid is easy to clean and provides a full view of the baby. The incubator can be lowered by means of a gas strut mechanism meaning that a mother can sit in a chair with the incubator lowered so that it balanced just above her lap so that she can touch and maintain eye contact with her baby – forging an important other wise lost bond.

“In addition to this the incubator can be raised to standing height to enable medical practitioners to monitor and care for the children.”

Tod Burton, Deputy Head of Bristol Institute for Technology, said, “Doug has successfully identified a serious problem with an existing design and come up with a project that not only addresses the practical issues of supporting a new born but looks at the people side of the problem.. His incubator encapsulates what we try to achieve with our students, instilling and nurturing their ability to produce technologically innovative projects that are of real value to society.”

Sam Leaworthy, also a Product Design student, has designed a toy that contains Bluetooth technology to store a single digital photograph. Sam explains, “In this age of digital imagery we risk losing an important element in the cognitive development of our children who may through lack of family albums and printed photographs miss out on the historical and chronological sequence of events that make up their life. So many of us now store our images on computers and in cameras and fewer photographs are printed.

“The toy that I have developed contains a single poignant image from a child's life with a wind up mechanism that also makes a noise. When a child waves the toy at any receiver such as a computer screen, TV or mobile phone the image contained in the toy appears on the screen. I have included a noise so that the child will grow up associating the noise with the image. The idea is that in the future the toys will become heirlooms that can be shared with children and grandchildren.”

Chris Deverson graduates in Mechanical Engineering and has already secured employment with Prodrive working on design and development of endurance racing cars at Aston Martin Racing. He has recently returned from the 24 hour event at Le Mans in France.

Chris describes his final year project, “My project stemmed from a placement year in the automotive industry, where I was testing car engines on a daily basis. The university required a new facility to test the performance of engines, and I fancied developing a performance engine for personal use. As a result it was decided to construct a facility from scratch, including designs and a large amount of project management.

“The test equipment was set up to enable the fitment of a two litre petrol engine and as a second phase of the project I was to develop new engine components to improve its efficiency. This used many techniques, such as computational fluid dynamics, analytical work and a fair amount of designing. As a result an inlet manifold was developed to improve the amount of air entering the engine. Also a design of throttle was developed that improved the power output across the entire operating range, requiring complex design and machining tasks."

“Most of the ideas and theories used in my project already exist, however they are very complex. New techniques were developed from other areas of fluid dynamics, used to analyse the performance of the engine before manufacturing; however they proved too complex to study at undergraduate level. The ideas could be taken forward into post-graduate research.

“My interest in motor sport lies in the performance of all the parts in a race car. Racing pushes every component in the car to its limits, and I'm fascinated by this interaction. My short term plans are to grasp an understanding of how they achieve this, and tackle the problems that arise from their failure. In the long term I hope to apply this knowledge and experience to the world of sport engineering, such as climbing and mountain biking equipment.”

I'd just like to say that I've been thoroughly impressed with the support, enthusiasm, and skills of the faculty team. Without them I wouldn't have achieved success in such an ambitious final year project.

'Expression' is this year launching at the Bristol Institute of Technology at UWE's Frenchay Campus for a two day show at 18.00 on Tuesday 10 June before moving on to the Old Fire Station in Bristol City Centre where it will form part of the Bristol Design Festival that launches at 18.00 on Friday 13 June.


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