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DMU student designs his way to national finals


A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student has reached the finals of the 2020 Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition, having been asked to design a product for urban living.

Matthew Shaw will join five others from Brunel, Coventry,  two from Dublin and London South Bank in the final and will represent their universities at final judging which takes place today (Friday, May 29).

With a focus on ‘Improving lifestyle and saving resources’, this year’s theme challenged the students to come up with a brand new product which would enhance life in a city environment, for use in flat or whilst commuting.


Product Design student Matthew's idea is for an app which measures air quality, allowing commuters to plan the cleanest and most direct route to work.

Organisers, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners, along with headline industry sponsor, Covestro, wanted to see how students would respond to the increasing demands of today’s social and environmental trends.

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the panel of renowned industry judges critiqued over 100 entries via video conference to choose their final six.

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said: “The six finalists’ entries offered a diverse range of solutions to challenges such as pollution, how to stay fit - particularly in confined spaces - and how to make best use of that space.  They showed a good grasp of the brief, and the overall creativity of these six solutions is excellent. A good number of entries displayed how they generated and developed their ideas, which is a key area to help the judges understand the journey from concept to product.”  

As is customary, the judges have given feedback to all the students, requesting further thought into some aspects of their designs, which will then be presented by each student at the final judging. For the first time, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the judging session will take place via video conference. Students will each have 20 minutes to present to the judges.

First prize is a visit to the headline industry sponsor and leading polymer manufacturer, Covestro, in Leverkusen, Germany along with a cash prize.  Another key feature of the competition is that every one of the six finalists receives a short industry placement with one of the competition sponsors: Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and RJG Technologies.

The six finalists are:

Ellen Dack –  third year Product Design, Technological University Dublin
Complanter – an easy to use composting unit ideal for people living in confined spaces and which also functions as a planter for herbs.

Hannah Dempsey – third year Product Design, Technological University Dublin
Workspace – a personal ‘desk’ for students, which promotes better posture while being capable of being used in a variety of confined spaces.

Matthew Foord – third year, Product Design, Coventry University
A versatile urban trolley to be used on trains and buses or open city streets as an alternative to single-use carrier bags. Made with components that are 100 per cent recyclable.

Matthew Shaw – third year Product Design, De Montfort University
Andas One – a smart device, which measures air quality, and helps the user to plan the cleanest and most direct route to walk, when in an urban area.

Kristen Tapping – fourth year Product Design, London South Bank University
Rolloe Roll Off Emissions – bicycle wheel caps that actively purify the air, making for a cleaner ride for the user

Zihao Zhang – MSc Product Design,  Brunel University
FREEFITNESS – A sustainable fitness dumbbell, which uses plastic bottles, providing the user with multiple options for doing an upper body workout.

Posted on Friday 29th May 2020

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