Leggings to improve running speed, seed saver + hand massager feature at UWE's design show

Issue date: 08 June 2011

Plan + Make' 10 June 2011, 17.00 - 21.00
R Block, UWE Frenchay Campus

Final year degree projects that feature an array of innovative ideas including a hand massager for people with arthritis, leggings designed to improve running speed and a nifty device for gardeners to save seeds will be on display at ‘Plan + Make' at the University of the West of England on 10 June.

‘Plan + Make' is a showcase of the work from five departments across UWE's Faculty of Environment and Technology. This year the show will have a festival feel and presents a great opportunity to view innovative product designs, music installations, architecture design concepts and much more.

Kurt Gauss, Associate Head of Department, Engineering Design and Mathematics, said,“ The combined work in this exhibition shows a broad cross section of investigation and design solutions that address issues our society is facing today. The products and services presented by our graduates demonstrate outstanding competencies in research, critical analysis, design synthesis, brand development, service mapping, design engineering and human centred design.”

Professor Paul Olomolaiye, Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty enthuses, “From architecture through to games technology, mechanical engineering to product design, geography to music technology, this year ‘plan + make' aims to be the most ambitious and exciting degree show we have ever had.”

Exhibits will include work from final year students from the full range of courses in the Faculty of Environment and Technology including Aerospace Engineering, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Community Consultancy Projects, Computer Science, Computer Systems, Construction and Property, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics, Mechanical and Motorsport Engineering, Multimedia Technology, Music Technology and Soundscapes, Planning, Product Design and Robotics.

Will Drake 4th Year Product Design Technology

Hand massager for people with arthritis

Will Drake has designed a hand massage machine to help improve the quality of life for people who suffer from arthritis. He conducted research at the Bath Royal Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases where he met with health practitioners and patients to help inform his design.

Will explains, “I discovered that one of the most difficult times in the day for people with acute arthritis is first thing in the morning. At this time joints are particularly stiff and many people say that this is the worst time of day when they suffer the most pain in their joints.

“I have designed a hand massage device that utilizes airbags and infra red heat to soothe aches and pains. The unit mimics the Paraffin wax bath treatment used in hospitals that inspired this idea, and adds a massage element to the treatment, that also aids movement.”

Aaron Colfer 4th year Creative Product Design

The Seed Pod

Aaron Colfer has designed, The Seed Pod, a fail safe way of enabling seed bank organisations, allotment owners and gardeners to preserve and store endangered seeds from the plants that they grow.. He discovered that there is a market for a product that allows all seed savers, from heritage seed banks to allotment holders, to safely preserve seeds.

Aaron explains, “In order that seeds will germinate it is critical that once collected they are cleaned, dried and stored carefully. Stuffing seeds into an envelope and storing in a garden shed in often damp conditions will risk a seed failing to germinate but many gardeners derive enormous pleasure from saving and sharing seeds.

“Working with Robin Probert, who heads up seed conservation and technology at Kew Gardens Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, I have come up with a way of improving a seed collection kit that they had devised.

“My Seed Pod design is compact enough to store in the fridge, it weighs next to nothing and can be offered to the market at a low cost. I've had great feedback from the people I've been talking to during the research stages and I hope to take the Seed Pod into production when I graduate.

“The Seed Pod prototype is made from co polyester which has great thermal properties. It features an indicator sachet that turns orange when the seeds are dry enough to store in the fridge, a built-in lens to make it easy to view the seeds indicator and is designed to be stackable making storage in limited domestic fridge spaces possible. I consider this to be a breakthrough product that will create its own market.”

Chris Hedges, Product Design Technology and Creative Product Design

Leggings to reduce injury and improve running technique

When Product Design Technology student Chris Hedges discovered that eight out of ten marathon runners get injured every year, he decided to create a product that would help to reduce injury and enhance running technique.

'Refine' is a pair of specially designed leggings, that uses TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) bands to help the body maintain a better shape and posture for running. Chris explains, "Refine is based on the principal of using the body's own awareness to train the relevant muscles. By placing the bands strategically we are encouraging the body to prepare the right muscles needed in the movements required in running. Refine follows the natural posture of the body and is a gentle system that will proprioceptively encourage the correct posture for running and improve technique.”

“It is suitable for all levels - novice, regular and elite, and the product includes an online training package aimed at these different levels. I hope to take the concept forward and plan to test the product further with running groups. I really enjoy solving user-centred design problems and my course has really helped me get to grips with this type of design."

Chris is already working for 'Innovate Product Design' based in Salisbury.


FFI: Jane Kelly or Mary Price, Press Officers


Tel: 0117 32 82208

E-mail: Jane.Kelly@uwe.ac.uk or Mary.Price@uwe.ac.uk

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