Students champion accessibility in Design the Change Competition
14 March 2023
A team of Falmouth University students are collaborating to invent a product that will improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.
The Design the Change Competition is a student competition which highlights the need for improved accessibility in the world and the importance design plays in making this happen.
Students from Falmouth's Sustainable Product Design BA(Hons) and Robotics BSc(Hons) courses are currently working together on a response to this year's brief, which is to create an original and innovative product that will improve the lives of people with spinal cord injury.
With the winning entry set to receive £3,000, the judging process will review whether entries have considered the needs of people with spinal cord injuries, solves a day-to-day problem and demonstrates commercial awareness.
Sustainable Product Design BA(Hons) Course Leader, Simons Andrews, said: “The competition is an amazing opportunity for our students to design products that could make a real difference to improve the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries.
“The student collaboration in interdisciplinary teams also creates an excellent opportunity for learning that they will later apply in a professional context.”
Having the chance to work collaboratively with Robotics students to design and prototype a product that could potentially improve someone's quality of life was something that I felt I couldn't pass up.
Josie Gay, a Sustainable Product Design BA(Hons) student, said: “Design is a powerful medium for bringing about change. Within my practice I strive to design in a way which is considered and meaningful, responding to briefs which require innovative, problem-solving solutions.
“The Design the Change Competition appealed to me as it provided an opportunity to further develop my skills using human-centred research methodologies - a strategy we'd been introduced to on the course. Having the chance to work collaboratively with Robotics students to design and prototype a product that could potentially improve someone's quality of life was something that I felt I couldn't pass up.”
Speaking about her experience of the competition so far, Josie also said: “As a group we've gathered some highly valuable insight from interviews conducted with clients from Cornwall Mobility which has helped to inform our design direction. Weekly design sprints have ignited excitement, sparking a range of ideas and potential avenues for exploration and now we're at the stage where we can start experimenting with circuitry and mechanics.
“I'm really enjoying working collaboratively on this brief. I'm a strong believer in the value of learning from others and being able to bounce ideas off each other in a context like this is so important to the development of designs. My team are wonderful, and I feel very fortunate to be working with them! There are two of us from Sustainable Product Design and two from Robotics, providing - in my mind - the ideal opportunity for learning & sharing knowledge.”
With the competition closing on 19 May 2023, we’d like to wish all our competing students the best of luck as they enter the final months of the competition.