Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) is a joint product design, experimentation and enterprise course run in unison at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. A highly complex and demanding course, IDE students require a vast knowledge of industrial design, manufacturing, mechanical engineering and product sustainability. This year, the course produced two Helen Hamlyn award winners – Patrick Hyland and Samuel Jewell – both of which were given the Age UK Award for Inclusive Design.
One of our favourites was Chenwei Wang’s ‘My Family Signature’, a readable graphic code which identifies individuals based on their unique family history.
Chenwei says: “As a society, we use documents like birth certificates, marriage contracts and wills to prove our existence and connect us with our families. This new pattern system enables individuals to review their family history and their own position within it via a personal stamp, which also acts as a key that opens their profile, family tree and important documents held in the database.”
Sam Jewell’s award winning ‘AudioWeb’ project explores ways in which visually impaired people can fully experience the internet.
Sam explains: “‘AudioWeb’ seeks to make their experience of the Internet as easy, fun and meaningful as it is for the sighted. Using the richness of sound to change speed, pitch, voice, accent and tone, and using 3D surround sound, we can transform the computer interface completely. This project is inspired by the blind, but can be enjoyed by all.”
Mohammed Daud travelled to rural Pakistan to conduct his research for the ‘Stephoe’ project.
“I found that farmers depend heavily on hoes to weed and maintain their crops,” says Mohammed. “This is a much-dreaded activity as it leads to severe back problems, and yet the tool remains ancient and unchanged. I have designed an innovative device, the ‘Stephoe’, which adapts the existing hoe but revolutionises its use. It is a simple, effective and disruptive innovation.”
If there’s one thing which every Brit requires, it’s an umbrella! But, as we all know, they’re not the sturdiest or most reliable contraptions. Yuan-Chun Lin has addressed this issue by designing a repairable and recyclable umbrella. Every section can easily be repaired, extending the umbrella’s life.
Yuan-Chen says: “This project is about delivering users a new experience on rainy days, through innovative design and systems thinking. It not only focuses on solving existing problems while trying to change users’ behaviour, but also on creating a disruptive market innovation.”
Following in the steps of the barefoot running trend, Peter Kushnigg has created a trainer which actively recognizes the runner’s pattern of movement.
Peter explains: “Derived through experimental and sustainable thinking, the product reinvents the construction methods of current running shoes by reducing materials, eliminating adhesives and providing a modular platform for easy recyclability. Inspired by my background in the prosthetic industry, I hope the product shows my deep respect for the elegance and complexity of the human body.”
Marjan Angoshtari was another graduate who, like Sam Jewell, showcased a design which assisted the visually impaired.
“This project revolutionises the shopping experience for the blind in later life,” explains Marian. “By taking advantage of existing and emerging technologies, to help them live a healthier and more independent life, making it practical and enjoyable for this part of society once again.”
Patrick Hyland focused on one of the most common problems faced by wheelchair users for his award winning ‘Synergise’ design.
“Angled or cambered surfaces affect wheelchair propulsion, as the wheelchair veers towards the lower surface, and the user has to brake on one side and propel on the other,” Patrick explains. “This affects momentum, increases friction and leads to higher energy consumption. ‘Synergise’ allows wheelchair users to negotiate angled surfaces with reduced friction and increased efficiency over endurance.”