Innovative push-out plug socket wins student design competition

At the end of last year I was made an offer I really couldn’t refuse. Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company, invited me to be part of the judging panel for a design competition she was running at my old sixth form college, Collyer’s. Of course the answer was yes and so I headed back to my snow covered home town, Horsham, to visit some of my old haunts.

Here Philippa talks about the aim of the competition, its entries and the winners…
The Future Perfect Company logoWe are delighted to announce that sixth form student, Glenn Crombie has won first prize in The Future Perfect Company and Collyer’s competition
to encourage young designers to think about the challenges that an
ageing population presents – and to create innovative, attractive and
aspirational designs that allow people to continue to live enjoyable,
active and independent lives as they get older.

Push-out-plug-socket-high-res-150x150.jpgGlenn’s winning product is designed to eject a standard plug from a
socket at the touch of a button – deceptively simple but very
ingenious! Although initially designed to meet the needs of people with
arthritis and similar gripping disabilities, this product has universal
appeal and because it is based on a standard UK plug socket fitting, it
is easily installed anywhere it is needed.

Joint second were Lucy Martlew, Andrew Marsh, Lauren Hale, James
Delve and Jessica Chapman. whose designs included a light bulb changer, a
mug which boils water using electromagnetic induction, a drinking glass
with finger grooves for easy gripping, a soap sword and a long-handled
personal grooming set.

The competition was open to Collyer’s students on the GCSE Advanced
Subsidiary Product Design course and judged by Denise Stephens
(co-founder of online design community Enabled by Design), Harry Trimble (former
winner of the competition at University of Brighton), and Philippa
Aldrich (founder of The Future Perfect Company). Tutors Kate Sharp
(Faculty leader – Arts and Communications) and Hari Atkins (Subject
Leader – Product Design, Materials) acted as advisors to the judging

Denise Stephens commented: “It was great to see design students
exploring and addressing the challenges faced by many of us, but
especially an ageing population. I was particularly excited to see
entries that were clearly developed from a real need identified when
speaking to people during the research stage of the design
process, leading to some innovative results and mainstream appeal

Harry Trimble said: “Collyers’ students demonstrated great quality of
thought and initiative to uncover the fundamental issues underpinning
the various challenges of becoming older. The competition illustrated
wonderfully how the standard of design education can be significantly
enhanced if we encourage designers to have firsthand experience of the
problems we hope to resolve through design”.

We were delighted with the enthusiasm with which the students
approached the subject of ageing, something that they would not
ordinarily consider and the high quality of the design thinking which
resulted. It was good also to see that the students had spoken to
potential older users as to what sort of products they wanted and
needed and listened to what they were told.

We will feature more of the winning designs over the next few weeks
but would be interested to hear what you think about Glenn’s push-out plug
socket. Would you buy one?

Kindly written and provided by Philippa Aldrich from The Future Perfect Company.

Well done to all of the shortlisted entries and keep up the good work!

Team EbD x