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A refillable ‘infinity mascara’, an intelligent carpet for growing crops in refugee camps, a customisable wheelchair brand that provides aspirational lifestyle products, and a classroom game that promotes inter-cultural understanding are among the innovations announced today as winners of the 2017 RSA Student Design Awards

Today we reveal the 24 winning solutions developed in response to this year’s RSA Student Design Awards (SDA). Run annually by the RSA since 1924, the SDA is the world’s longest running student design competition, challenging emerging designers across the globe to tackle real-world issues facing society, the environment and business.

The Awards are open to university students and new graduates from all disciplines, who can work individually or collaborate in teams to apply their design thinking and skills in new ways. The winning entries this year show students using design in the context of social and economic innovation, sustainability and international development – a full list of the winning entries can be found below, and see our online Showcase for images of winning and commended work.

Phillipa Bridges’ project ‘Infinity Mascara’ was the winning response to the Circular Futures brief sponsored by Unilever, which asked students to ‘design and develop a product, system or business model for Fast Moving Consumer Goods based on principles of circular design.’ Infinity Mascara is a refillable mascara product and service solution that has been designed for reuse and longevity; mascara is applied to the lashes with a 3D-printed fingertip that fits the individual’s finger form.

The 2016/17 competition comprised 12 different briefs developed in partnership with a diverse range of industry and government sponsors, with topics including designing ways to foster inter-cultural understanding (‘Beyond Borders’), increase mental agility in older age (‘Agile Ageing’) and rethink Fast Moving Consumer Goods for a circular economy (‘Circular Futures’).

Antonia Lowe won the Marketing Trust Award for her project ‘Culture Tower’, developed in response to the Beyond Borders brief sponsored by the Marketing Trust and CIM. Culture Tower is a classroom game that aims to confront the issues of cultural misunderstanding that lead to social conflict.

Thousands of students around the world tackled these briefs, and engaged with the RSA through our programme of briefing sessions, skills workshops, and online resources to support students as they wrestled with these issues. Over 800 students from 21 countries went on to submit their work into the competition. Their proposals were judged by leading designers and industry experts in a rigorous 2-stage process: anonymous offline shortlisting, followed by face to face interviews with finalists.

Nelson Noll won the Global Disability  Innovation Hub Award for his project ‘Curve’ in response to the #HackOnWheels  brief – Curve is an indoor wheelchair, designed as an aspirational piece of  furniture for the home that is aesthetically pleasing and does not have a  medical look or feel.

It’s this combination of judging rigour, in depth engagement with students and explicit focus on design for social impact, along with the unique mix of benefits for winners, which sets the RSA Student Design Awards apart from other student competitions. This year over £45,000 of cash prizes and paid industry placements have been awarded to the winning entrants, who also receive a range of other benefits including complementary RSA Fellowship.

Dominik Falconi, Denisse Rodriguez + Jose Ortiz, won an award for their solution to the brief Wearing Intelligence, which asked students to develop a design solution that utilises ‘advanced textiles’ to improve wellbeing or the quality of people’s lives. Their response, ‘RISE’, is an intelligent carpet for growing crops in refugee camps to boost resources and restart economic flow. RISE is specifically designed for use in non-fertile humanitarian crisis regions; it is made from 100% biodegradable materials, contains locals seeds and liquid filters, and relies on human urine as a core liquid source. 

This year’s winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at RSA House in London on 21 June. The event will include a keynote address by past winner David Constantine MBE, founder of Motivation, a charity that sets up self-sustaining projects to improve the quality of life of people with mobility disabilities in developing countries. David is one of many SDA alumni that have gone on to have a massive impact in business and society, from Apple Design Chief Sir Jonathan Ive and Chief Executive of the Design Business Association Deborah Dawton, to founder/CEO of renewable energy company Pavegen Laurence Kemball-Cook.

The RSA Student Design Awards: A Student's Story from RSA Student Design Awards on Vimeo.

A full list of the winners is included below, and you can see images of all the winning and commended work in our Showcase. Congratulations to the thousands of students around the world who took part in this year's RSA Student Design Awards and to those shortlisted, commended and winning students who are using positive, impactful design in designing our futures.

sda.thersa.org  | @RSADesignAwards | #rsadesign


SPONSORS OF THE 2016/2017 RSA STUDENT DESIGN AWARDS

The full list of sponsors for the 2016/2017 RSA Student Design Awards includes: RBS, Marketing Trust, Unilever, Global Disability Innovation Hub, Philips, GSK, Fazer, Office for Disability Issues, Government Office for Science, Policy Lab, #HackOnWheels, Waitrose, NCR, NHS England, CIM The Chartered Institute of Marketing, PRP, Kinneir Dufort, Natracare, Materials Council, and the Eddie Squires Legacy to the RSA.


THE RSA STUDENT DESIGN AWARDS 2016/17 – FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 12 briefs
  • 803 entries
  • 21 countries represented
  • 24 winning entries
  • £45,000 in cash prizes and paid placements
  • Each entry is judged according to six criteria: social and environmental benefit, execution, research, design thinking, commercial awareness and magic.

THE RSA STUDENT DESIGN AWARDS 2016/17 – FULL LIST OF WINNERS

Full details of each brief, and an online showcase of winning entries, are available on the RSA Student Design Awards website.

RE-WORK - sponsored by RBS

BRIEF: Design and develop a vision and a business case for a new product and/or service made from disused office furniture

  • Winner of the RBS Award of £2500

Thomas Howell-Jones, Birmingham City University

Rest? A hard-shell rucksack and pannier bag made from the backrest of redundant office chairs; through ‘Rest?’ the office chair is transformed into a multi-functional, ecological product promoting an active lifestyle.

  • Winner of the RBS Award of £1000 for the best business case

Team of 2: Thomas Wastling, Cranfield University, Leicester and Ethan Howard, Uppsala University)

Bare Technology: a product and service design solution to convert old computers (e-waste) into simpler, more straightforward, accessible computers for older people; Bare Technology aims to address the increasing problem of e-waste and the fact that many older people are isolated by technology.

THE GOOD LIFE 2.0 - sponsored by Philips

BRIEF: Use design to empower people to better prevent, detect, treat and possibly reverse lifestyle-related health conditions.

  • Winner of the Philips Award of £2500

Aidan Postle, Plymouth University

Breathe-Easy: a consumer healthcare system and subscription service that tackles the issues caused by ambient air pollution through the application of citizen science; it uses three key strategies (the product, a tree-planting scheme and citizen science) to not only reduce the potential risk of air pollution on the body but also decrease the amount of contamination in the air and address people’s mindsets around the impact of pollution.

  • Winner of the RSA Fellows Award of £1250

Nerissa Arviana Prawiro, Loughborough University

Diit: a personalised automated diet management system that provides real-time handheld analysis of calories and micronutrients in food to detect over/under consumption through scanning and weight; the system encourages compliance with renal diet allowances and may prevent progression of kidney failure.

AGILE AGEING - sponsored by Fazer with additional support from Waitrose

BRIEF: Design a way to increase and maintain mental agility and ‘brain power’ in older age.

  • Joint-Winner of the Fazer Award (£1250)

Jinhui Low, Chanisa Cchaiwat + Christie Cheng Wan Ting, LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore)
LIT: an app (supported by local supermarkets) that allows users to shop for food based on their individual medical history and/or dietary requirements, making it easier to eat foods that will improve overall health; users will be rewarded with points for buying the ‘right’ foods that will offset future purchases.

  • Joint-Winner of the Fazer Award (£1250):

Amber Ruske, Arts University Bournemouth

Memory Bus: a regular bus service that also offers passengers a chance to play games and quizzes, engage in various activities, and have impromptu conversations in an effort to increase and maintain cognitive function and decrease loneliness.

CIRCULAR FUTURES - sponsored by Unilever

BRIEF: Design and develop a product, system or business model for Fast Moving Consumer Goods based on principles of circular design and value creation.

  • Winner of the Unilever Award of £2500

Philippa Bridges, Loughborough University

Infinity Mascara: a refillable mascara product and service solution where the mascara can be applied to the lashes with a 3D-printed fingertip that fits the individual’s finger form; the product only needs to be replaced every 3-6 months and it is estimated that Infinity will save an estimated 25 mascara bottles per person from landfill.

MIND YOUR MONEY- sponsored by RBS with additional support from NCR

BRIEF: Design a way for people to improve their financial capability and manage their money better

  • Winner of the RBS Award of £1500

Liam Tuckwood, University of Derby

Emote: an interactive debit card with a face that reacts and emotes based on the user’s spending and remaining bank balance; the card is linked to an app that serves as a budget tool and reminder.

  • Winner of the NCR Internship Award

Sarah White, Sheffield Hallam University

Back in Black: a money management app for students to help them spend and save money wisely; the app is specifically targeted at students and works to prevent the urge to spend impulsively by reminding them of their longer-term saving goals, but also acknowledges that students want to enjoy their lives and going out.

HAPPY BIRTH DAY - sponsored by GSK

BRIEF: Design a way of ensuring that mothers and children in emerging markets have the greatest chance of survival in pregnancy and birth

Joint-Winner of the paid placement at GSK and half the cash award (£500)

Emily Brook,
Leeds Beckett University

Reusable Maternity Kit: A safe, sustainable and comfortable solution for managing after-birth bleeding designed specifically for mothers in The Gambia; the kit includes four reusable maternity towels, two pairs of cotton underwear and instructions showing how the kit can be used.

  • Joint-Winner of the paid placement at GSK and half the cash award (£500)

Elspeth Coutts, Edinburgh College of Art

Chain Reaction: a unique peer empowerment campaign and workshop programme tackling and breaking the everyday stigmas faced by women (with a focus on East Africa) designed to address a lack of sexual health, menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth education; the campaign and workshops would be run with women’s groups, provided by global charities such as Women and Children First.

BEYOND BORDERS - sponsored by Marketing Trust with additional support from The Chartered Institute of Marketing

BRIEF: Create a campaign, service, product or environment designed to promote inter-cultural understanding

  • Winner of the CIM Paid Placement Award

Areli Jacobs, University of Bedfordshire

The Welcome Project: a community-based service scheme and campaign aimed at newcomers in a new community/society looking for guidance and friendly advice; the Welcome Project also provides locals with an opportunity to give back to their community in a number of ways and even promote their business.

  • Winner of the Marketing Trust Cash Award of £2000

Antonia Lowe, University of Northampton

Culture Connects – Culture Tower: a fun and educational board game for school-age children that aims to confront the issues of cultural misunderstanding that lead to social conflict.

#HACKONONWHEELS - sponsored by Global Disability Innovation Hub with additional support from #HackOnWheels

BRIEF: Design a wheelchair of the future for the #HackOnWheels library of open source designs

  • Joint Winner of the GDI Award (student will receive £1,250)

Nelson Noll, Central Saint Martins - UAL

Curve: An indoor wheelchair designed as another piece of furniture in the home that is aesthetically pleasing and does not have a medical look or feel and is more suited to household tasks because of its elevated seat height.

  • Joint Winner of the GDI Award (student will receive £1,250)

Thomas Dell, University of Nottingham

HAX:  A low-friction reduction gearing system enabling wheelchair users to tackle slopes, hills and terrains that would otherwise be difficult; the system is designed to be customisable, cost-effective and adaptable to any wheelchair.

WEARING INTELLIGENCE - sponsored by The Eddie Squires Legacy to the RSA with additional support from Kinneir Dufort

BRIEF: Develop a design solution that utilises ‘advanced textiles’ to improve wellbeing or the quality of people’s lives

  • Winner of the paid placement at Kinneir Dufort

Michael Soper, University of the West of England

Felicitate: a new breed of catheter that gives the user the freedom, discretion and dignity they would have without one. Felicitate uses electro-active polymers to pump fluid out of an evacuation pipe placed in the underwear, enabling them to easily empty it into the toilet themselves.

  • Joint Winner of the Eddie Squires Award of £1500

Nataliya Savicheva, British Higher School of Art and Design, Moscow

カメレオン Kamereon: a wearable game that utilises smart shoes (that change pattern and texture depending on the wearer’s activity), fashion and geodata to motivate teens to go outside, exercise and socialise.

  • Joint Winner of the Eddie Squires Award of £1500

Dominik Falconi, Denisse Rodriguez + Jose Ortiz, Tecnológico de Monterrey - Campus Puebla, Mexico

RISE: an intelligent carpet for growing crops in refugee camps to boost resources and restart economic flow. RISE is specifically designed for use in non-fertile humanitarian crisis regions; it is made from 100% biodegradable materials, contains locals seeds and liquid filters, and relies solely on human urine as the liquid source. 

INCLUSIVE LIVING - sponsored by the Office for Disability Issues with additional support from PRP

BRIEF: Design and develop a proposal for inclusive living that challenges the current way we design our homes

  • Winner of the ODI Award of £1000

Sophia Bannert, Oxford Brookes

Bee-Able: a rating system for accessibility in the city powered by user-generated content (UGC) and a set of illustrations that show the frustrations that thousands of people go through on a daily basis due to thoughtless inaccessible and exclusive design.

  • Winner of the paid placement at PRP

Jemima Oliver, Plymouth University

Umbrella: an inclusive and interactive game designed to establish a holistic mindset and nurture a resilient community by revealing the importance of empowerment and integration within society through promoting trust, collaboration and connection.

LEARNING FOR LIFE - sponsored by the Government Office for Science and Policy Lab

BRIEF: Design an exciting new way to support, encourage or stimulate learning throughout people’s lives in the future

  • Winner of the paid placement at Policy Lab

Jasmine Robinson, Norwich University of the Arts

Project UX: a social enterprise with two key aims – firstly, to provide a rigorous user testing service for digital products and services and secondly, to provide testers with the opportunity to improve their own digital skills while earning money through a structured user testing programme; the programme is targeted at companies trialing new online and digital products and services intended for mass use.

  • Winner of the cash award of £1000

Thomas Wastling, Cranfield University, and Ethan Howard, Uppsala University

Bare Technology: a product and service design solution to convert old computers (e-waste) into simpler, more straightforward, accessible computers for older people; Bare Technology aims to address the increasing problem of e-waste and the fact that many older people are isolated by technology.

MOVING PICTURES - sponsored by NHS England with additional support from RSA Events and Natracare

BRIEF: Conceive and produce an animation to accompany one of the two selected audio files that will clarify, energise and illuminate the content

  • Winner of the Natracare Award of £1000

Yasmin Cowen + Wyl Parkes, Birmingham City University

Collaborative Animation: an animation based on two contrasting styles – tonal portraiture and loose gestural drawing – to create an overall concept that flows and transitions with the key words in the audio. (‘End Ageism’ audio)

  • Winner of the RSA Award of £1000 and Winner of the RSA Staff Choice Award of £500

Eleanor Russell-Jones, Arts University Bournemouth

Age Pride: an animation that highlights the negative stereotypes our western culture has of older people and argues that these views are wrong and outdated, emphasising the message that age really is just a number and is not what defines us. (‘End Ageism’ audio)

  • Winner of the NHS Award of £1000

Sarah Nyhan, Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland

A Helping Hand: an animation that focuses on the power of togetherness to communicate the idea of harnessing the existing energy (visualised as batteries) we possess as a society and how we can use this improve our collective well-being. (‘More Than a Pill’ audio)

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