Design & Engineering News

Here you'll find all the news and updates covering our students, the show, awards, business engagement, competitions and much more...

According to the latest Complete University Guide, BU have improved their ranking in 20 tables since 2017 and are now ranked in the top half of their respective tables in 22 subjects, 1 more than in 2017. Mechanical Engineering has improved its ranking by 23 places (37th/70), the most from any subject area at BU this year.

In related areas, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering (up 16 places to 20th/41) and Electrical & Electronic Engineering (up 15 places to 44th/76) are offered as Foundation degrees (FdEng) at our partner institution, Bournemouth & Poole College.

BU’s overall score (relative to the top ranked institution) has increased this year from 638 to 680.

From placement to festival, and then employment at Quadrant2Design

Listen to BU graduate Ross Pike share his story of his placement, exhibiting at the Festival of Design and Technology, and how he came to employment at Quadrant2Design.

And placement student Elliot Arnold also shares his experience of working on placement at Quadrant2Design.

Click the video below to start watching:






Placement student offered graduate role

In June 2015 Hillside Product Design Limited, based in Teignmouth, Devon, took on Tom Alway, an undergraduate Product Design student from Bournemouth University for a year-long placement to provide ‘real life’ work experience and on-the-job training and tutoring.

It has been such a success that they have now taken on another placement student for the next twelve months! Quy Te is also a Product Design student from Bournemouth University.

Chris Howsam, Managing Director, said "All our staff are graduates so we understand that universities often give a great introduction to the principles of product design.  We have been so pleased with Tom that we have invited him back to work for us on completion of his degree."

Congratulations to Tom and to Quy!

Industrial Design students set a brief called “The Psychiatrist's Consulting Room”.

Christine Beardwood is the founder of The Beardwood Practice, specialising in Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapy. In this live brief for students, she was to be their client; a “Clinical Hypnotherapist and psychotherapist” in need of a new unique work space.

The students were given six weeks to complete the project and the final design was to be modelled and rendered using 3ds Max. 

Christine's blog post explains that the ...."students completely understood the requirements of producing a therapeutic space and came up with innovative and unique ideas which could be translated into the working treatment room.  I was particularly impressed with the quality of work and the attention to detail.  Student’s designs ranged from couches which hung from the ceiling and inspirations taken from clouds to create a couch.  Whole room design with attention to how a therapy session works or creating a welcoming entrance using curved door furniture, planting of shrubs which are beneficial for the brain, to the design of the whole building with focus on the roof, structure, paths, columns and lighting.

Some of these ideas will be beneficial and add value to my business in the future.  The whole experience was very rewarding and enlightening exposing my practice to so many design possibilities has shown me what the future could hold for my hypnotherapy practice."   

Read Christine's full story.

Past exhibitor stories - Douglas Powell

When Douglas Powell started thinking about his final year design project on his Product Design degree, his aim was simple, to come up with an idea that would make people’s lives better. He began looking into transport issues in rural African communities, which led him to the concept of his bicycle ambulance.

“I grew up in Zimbabwe and have relatives in Tanzania, so I’ve seen this problem of locals being unable to access health facilities in an affordable and comfortable manner,” he explained.

“When I started doing further research into the issues, I found the charity Transaid[], who I’ve worked with to develop this project.”

Douglas tells us that he looked at existing bicycle ambulance designs, but felt they neglected patient comfort and dignity - issues he’s sought to address with his own design, using things like a canopy to provide protection from the sun and flying debris, as well as to give the patient some privacy, and introducing an adjustable stretcher to ensure the patient is more comfortable when they’re being transported.

The stretcher is also removable, allowing the trailer itself to be used for other tasks, such as collecting water, firewood, or even transporting healthcare workers to remote locations. Douglas has also made sure the design is easy to modify, explaining that the load bearing section can have different tabs welded to it, allowing it to be used for other purposes, including as transportable scales for weighing newborn babies.

However, while the design of the ambulance is key, Douglas reveals that how it’s manufactured is even more important.

Transaid’s work around the world revealed that simply giving a community a bicycle ambulance isn’t enough - they need to be able and willing to maintain it themselves.

“The main idea behind my project is that it’s locally manufacturable,” Douglas enthuses. “A construction guide is provided to local manufacturers and the hope is that by making it themselves, there’s more of a sense of community ownership.”

The guide Douglas has put together includes step-by-step instructions for putting the bicycle ambulance together, as well as mitre templates and information about how to manufacture the individual components.

“By having the community own it, they look after its maintenance. And the idea that it becomes a load-carrying device is to try and make the design locally economically sustainable,” he adds.

Although Transaid will be distributing the guides, as well as taking one of the bicycle ambulances out to Zambia, Douglas is keen to continue his involvement in the project.

“The construction manuals are something I can deliver myself, because my dad lives out in Tanzania,” he tells us. “Through questionnaires I carried out, we’ve identified which districts would most benefit from having an ambulance service and so something I’d like to do is distribute them.”

See his project here.

Past exhibitor stories - Sophia Anoa

Product Design graduate Sophia has never been one to shy away from ambitious projects during her time at BU, and the product she decided to make for the Festival of Design & Technology is no exception.

“I’ve made a water quality monitor for freshwater aquariums,” she beams. “It primarily looks at the total dissolved solids of the water, while helping promote the aeration of the water and getting users and fish keepers to maintain their aquarium by doing water changes weekly.”

Sophia explains that the idea for the water quality monitor came from having owned fish herself in the past, and initially feeling as though there was little support for someone who’d never looked after fish before.

She also spoke to people in the aquatics industry, and in the ecology department at BU, before going ahead with her design. The ultimate aim is to give people more information to help them take better care of their fish.

“You can look at a number of different water samples and think they’re all the same, but actually some of them can be really unsafe for fish, and you wouldn’t know that just by looking.

“And there are also cases where the algae builds up, or the water’s murky, and you panic, when actually it’s a safe environment and you don’t have to rush to do anything drastic,” she states.

When asked how many components are included in the monitor, Sophia grins, before answering “I think 15-20, I tried to keep it as minimalistic as possible and it’s all been designed for injection moulding - I’ve been trying to keep complexity down.”

Although she has dedicated a significant amount of time to the project, she’s enjoyed every minute of it.

“All the staff have been so supportive and friendly, and I’ve learned a lot,” she tells us.

Read more about Sophia here.

Inventions of tomorrow displayed at BU’s Festival of Design and Technology

Click here to listen to students at the show.

A record number of visitors came to BU's Festival of Design and Technology to see creations and designs produced by final year students.
The Festival, which was open to the public and industry, is a showcase of work created by around 200 final year design and creative technology students.
Over 700 people visited the Festival to see ideas on display including a bicycle ambulance for remote areas, a self-inflating life vest and a futuristic beach pod.  

BA (Hons) Industrial Design student Tobias Donohoe was exhibiting his final year project - the Post-Life Vessel, an alternative to a funeral urn which uses seeded paper to enable a plant to grow from the burial plot.
Tobias, who won the Best Industrial Design student prize, said: "It’s really good to be able to speak to people who have no idea about the project and being able to explain it to them and have their feedback – especially with businesses coming in and hearing what they’ve got to say.
"It really gives you a bit of a boost – you think of it as just as university project, but a day like this makes you realise that you could take it further if you wished."
BA/BSc (Hons) Product Design student Douglas Powell has created the bicycle ambulance for use in rural areas in Sub Saharan Africa.
"I grew up in Zimbabwe and still have family in Tanzania, and I've seen this problem first hand so I started investigating it further, and TransAid, a charity that I linked up with, provided me with case studies," he said.
"It's a serious problem that can be solved - 80 per cent of maternal deaths can be prevented by getting the women to hospital in a short period of time, but the average distance that someone has to travel to a hospital from the rural areas is between 14 and 40 kilometres.
"So the design is able to be attached to a bicycle but by changing the tow arm it can be attached to a motorcycle for those longer distances."
Winner of the Best Music and Audio Technology stand award Michael Franks was getting people to try out his prototype headset for an audio-visual aid for blind people.

"It's inspired by bats and the way they get around," Michael explained.
"Sensors detect where obstacles are and feed that back through the headphones – so you hear a sound coming from the direction that an obstacle is in."
He added: "It’s been great. The degree at Bournemouth covers a wide range of things so we’ve got skills in lots of different areas of audio, which means we can kind of go into lots of different jobs and lots of different markets."
The Festival also featured a Business Breakfast, attended by industry representatives and local businesses who then toured the exhibition.
Around 150 pupils from local schools also attended a special Schools day as part of the Festival, which featured the chance to tour the exhibit and a guest lecture delivered by a Dyson representative.

James Dyson Foundation Bursary Students visit Dyson HQ

Each year, the James Dyson Foundations gives 6 BU students a £1,000 bursary to help them with their final year projects.

In exchange for this gift, the students carry out three or four workshops each in local secondary schools. They tell the children at these schools all about James Dyson’s story and explain what design engineers do – then let them put their own heads and hands into action, making conceptual prototypes from Dyson machine parts.

Danielle Madigan, Douglas Powell, Lauren Richardson, Rutul Gandhi, Madison Brown and Thomas Hopkinson were also lucky enough to visit the Dyson HQ in February this year.

Graham Friend wins Procter & Gamble Award for Exemplary Design

Following on from a very successful exhibition at our 2014 festival  of Skypouch, a product designed to support babies during air travel, Product Design student Graham Friend won the Procter & Gamble Award for Exemplary Design at New Designers 2014.

Graham’s prize consisted of a fully paid 9 month design internship at Procter & Gamble’s offices in Geneva.

Dyson to visit FoDT 2015

Danya Walker from the James Dyson Foundation will hold two workshops for our school partners at FoDT 2015.

During her visit, Danya will also be on the lookout for fresh new talent who could submit entries to this year’s James Dyson Award.

The James Dyson Award is an international design award that celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. The award for the top International  Winner is $45,000 as well as a $7,500 award to their university.

Nominate your favourite piece of Product Design to win a hamper

During the Festival of Design & Technology 2015 you have the chance to vote in the Bournemouth University Product Design Visitors' Choice Award.

The Product Design project with the most votes will win a hamper worth £400 donated by our kind sponsor, Medik8 so pick up your nomination form and look out for the ballot box in the Product Design section of the show.

FoDT exhibitor also shines at New Designers

Following on from the Festival, a group of final year students were also selected to attend the New Designers exhibition in London from 6 – 9 July. The event, which is considered the most important exhibition for emerging design, provided further opportunities for the talented students to showcase their work to professionals in the creative industries, amongst thousands of other visitors.

Every year sponsors of the New Designers exhibition also present a series of prestigious Awards to the year’s most talented graduate designers. Product Design student Chloe Moran was awarded the New Designers Foundry Associate Prize for her project, winning a £500 cash prize and a three month work placement at Foundry.

‘It feels absolutely incredible to have been awarded the Foundry prize, completely unexpected!’ said Chloe.

‘New Designers has completely opened my eyes to new designs and designers. The whole range from arts to engineering, there is so much here to discover.’

Read more about Chloe’s project and the New Designers exhibition.

An inspiring event for schools and colleges

The Festival proved a great opportunity for the Design, Engineering and Creative Technology students to showcase their final year projects, with many industry and commerce professionals attending the event. Over 600 vistors attended over the 3 days.

Alongside being the go-to event for talent scouts to spot tomorrow’s designers, the exhibition also proved an inspiring event for schools and colleges, with over 230 students from the local area attending the Festival.

One primary school pupil said, ‘I feel I want to come here every day, it was epic. Best day ever!’

Click here to check out the Storify from the event, capturing some of the activity that took place over the three day festival.