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Design Innovation in Plastics 2023 winner announced!

Winning Dublin student creates new flossing device for teeth cleaning

July 7 2023

Many congratulations to Christopher Kenny, a student from Technological University Dublin, who has won this year’s Design Innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition with an ingenious bathroom item.

Chris was announced as the winner at the award ceremony at Painters’ Hall, London.

A third-year, product design undergraduate, he takes away the first prize of £1,000, plus a placement or course with a DIP sponsor, a year’s membership to the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), and an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Horners.

This year’s contestants were asked to design a product for the kitchen or bathroom.

Chris’ winning product is ‘Flossie’, a teeth cleaning device which allows people with hand dexterity conditions to floss their teeth more easily. It utilises flossing sticks and a specially designed gripping handle. Chris used a combination of ABS, polyurethane and polypropylene in the different components of his product.

Chairman of the judging panel, Richard Brown, said: “This is a great product which is inspired by a real-life challenge. We were impressed not just by the clever design, but by the user testing carried out by Chris, to show how it can help people with lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. He also gave us a detailed analysis of the product manufacturing costs, as well as considering its marketing.”

Chris said the inspiration for his product came from wanting to help his brother, who has cerebral palsy in his right hand, and said he was very proud that other people also liked his idea. “It is a real honour to be recognised in this competition,” he said. “I definitely want to work with materials and mechanisms in the future, as designing for usability really excites me. This project educated me on the constraints around designing plastic components but also the unique properties that plastics have to offer.”

The judges awarded second place to Kyle Farquhar, Edinburgh Napier University, with his product ‘PlateMate’, a foldable plate which shows children how to create a variety of Mexican and other international dishes, in a more fun way. In third place came Scott Rutherford, also from Edinburgh Napier, with his ‘Rotary Bottle Opener’, which helps people with hand weaknesses to open twist top bottles more easily.

Highly Commended awards go to:

· Freddy Blake, Bournemouth University, with ‘Bubble Buddy’, a bathroom soap dispenser and hand wash device in one package, which makes hand washing more fun for children.

· Teresa Zheng, Loughborough University, with ‘Sianel’ a portable shelf which enables people to change their colostomy bags more easily.

A sixth student, James Forrest-Smith, was presented with the inaugural Robin Jones Award. Robin was a key member of the DIP Committee who sadly died last year. A tutor at London South Bank University, he always passionately shared his presentation expertise to the finalists to help them showcase their products in the best possible way. This award therefore recognises both the skill in achieving this as well as the quality of the design.

James, from Northumbria University, created ‘STEPA’ a fully adjustable stool for children to use in the kitchen, encouraging them to get involved in kitchen activities.

Aside from the winner’s prize, the other award candidates also receive cash prizes along with placements or industrial courses and a year’s membership of IOM3.

DIP is also supported by work placement sponsors, Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and Sumitomo Demag, and media partners British Plastics & Rubber, Mould Technology and Materials World.

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