Student’s ‘Peek’ Travel Product Wins Design Innovation Award

A university student’s product to keep restless children engaged and happy on travel journeys has scooped top prize in the annual Design Innovation in Plastics competition, headline sponsored by Covestro.

The competition, which is organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners, awarded first prize to Ellen Britton, a Year 4 Product Design Engineering student at Glasgow School of Art.

The competition brief, ‘Products for Independent Travel,’ had challenged students to design an innovative product, primarily in plastic, that will provide a more comfortable and less stressful travel experience. Entries ranged from beach skis for wheelchairs and modular backpack systems to shower boxes.

Ellen designed a new product called ‘Peek’, an interactive travel sunshade, which uses smart technology, allowing children to use their imagination to create pictures, while still capturing glimpses of the big outdoors through a car or train window.

Her product was praised by the chairman of the judging panel, Richard Brown, RJG Technologies, who said: “Ellen demonstrated her knowledge of her chosen market, getting children from a Montessori school to test the product and explaining the material investigation she had undertaken to provide the solution. She is a very worthy winner, and the judges will take an active interest in how this product develops.”

Covestro design engineer, Mike Stuart, who was also part of the judging panel, said: “Ellen’s was a really novel idea, using materials which have been around for a while, but which we had never seen used in this imaginative way before. We liked the attention to detail, and the fact Ellen talked with manufacturers to discuss the correct products. This design had been further refined following the first phase of judging, and costings provided, which was appreciated by the judges.”

The judges awarded second place to University of Central Lancashire student, Kayleigh Dobson, who produced ‘AirBaby’ a portable, inflatable lap seat to use for babies when travelling.

Russell Kilgour, Product Design Engineering, Glasgow School of Art, was third with his ‘Nomad’ Utility Travel Camera Bag.

Highly commended prizes were awarded to:

–  Aidan Smith, Design for Industry, Northumbria University: ‘Pedlock’ bicycle pedal with integral lock.
–  Monique Spoerri, Product & Furniture Design, De Montfort University: ‘Lumen’ light therapy face mask to counteract the effects of jet lag.
–  Dom Tindale, Design for Industry, Northumbria University: ‘Skin Watch Wristband’ that reminds travellers to reapply sun cream to prevent sun burn.

Both the winner and runner up will receive an all expenses paid trip to Germany to spend a week with Covestro, and students will be offered a week’s work placement with competition sponsors, who are all market leaders in the fields of design and innovation.

Richard Brown said “Overall we had six good entries, it is a shame there can only be one winner. However, to get to the final six from 166 entries all finalist should take pride in their achievements. They are all good ambassadors of their respective Universities and demonstrate the emerging talent there in our educational establishments. We look forward to welcoming Ellen Britton and Aidan Smith to RJG for their training course in the near future”

The prestigious Design Innovation in Plastics Award is the longest running student plastics design competition in Europe, having been established in 1985.


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