Engineering students

Engineering students reach innovation competition final

Engineering students have been chosen for the national final of an innovation competition.

The projects in the Innovation Hothouse competition range from a sailing safety solution to a machine that creates a new material.

The students will now compete in a Dragon’s Den-style final where they pitch to a panel of judges from the business world and compete for the £5,000 prize to support the commercial development of their winning project.

The engineering projects are:

• The Polyfloss Factory, a micro-manufacturing machine that transforms a waste product polypropylene into a versatile new material called Polyfloss has been designed by a team at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.

The idea is to enable people to create valuable recycled plastic objects on a local level.

• Jonathan Otter from Northumbria University has developed a superior tool to clean the breach chamber of the small arms rifle used by the British armed forces to armoury inspection standard.

• An adaptable wall-mounted ‘grab and go’ storage solution that holds objects in an innovative and attractive way is the brainchild of Simon Lyons of Loughborough University.  

His product uses a matrix of flexible elements mounted on a backboard that work together to bend around whatever shape and size of object needs to be held.

• Another student from Loughborough University, Thomas Casselden, has designed and built prototype Alpine skis that can be assembled from a number of sub components to allow skiers to configure skis for different types of skiing and terrains.

• Luke Grey from Brunel University has submitted ‘Kip’; an ergonomically-designed device that provides secure and comfortable support to the head and neck to allow better napping in a seated position.

• ‘Off the Hook’ is an innovative mechanism and harness to make trapeze sailing safer by Simon Mc Namee, also from Brunel University.

Currently, a safety hook is used to secure sailors to a wire as they balance on the edge of high speed dinghies. 

His improved design solves the problem of sailors getting caught and trapped in a capsize situation.

• An entirely human-powered water craft designed for maximum speed in a straight line has been designed by Richard Stocker at the University of Nottingham.  

Its most striking feature is the fibreglass hydrofoils, which raise the hull above water at high speeds to boost efficiency.

The Innovation Hothouse competition aims to showcase the best final year university student design projects and provide an opportunity for young engineers to present their work to a panel of business angels who will offer advice and potentially funding to help students develop their work into a commercially viable product.

The Innovation Hothouse Final will be held as part of the London Design Festival in September.

The competition is run by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Institution of Engineering Designers, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, and Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

As well as a trophy, the £5,000 ‘J C Gammon Award for Innovation’ prize is intended to support the individual or team in developing their project after the event.

Runners-up prizes of £3,000 and £1,000 will also be presented.

Further information:

See the Innovation Hothouse website

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