Graduate wins international design award

06 October 2014

Rachel Atkinson

Jade Smith has received a bronze innovation award in the Lotus Prize 2014.

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduate has won an international design award.

Jade Smith, who graduated in summer with a 2:1 in product design, has received a bronze Innovation Design Award in the Lotus Prize 2014 for ECO Play ball.

The 21-year-old, from Keighley, beat off stiff competition from 3,656 students from across the globe to take this coveted prize.

She said:

“I’m really pleased and delighted to have done so well although I was shocked to find out I’d beaten so many people to get this award.”

The junior toy designer, who now works at Sambro, in Bury, designed the fun ball to encourage children aged five to eight to play outdoors and connect with their friends in a safe environment.

It works by youngsters throwing, kicking, rolling or bouncing the ball around to create energy, which is collected via a gyroscope mechanism. The energy is then converted into even more fun in the form of challenges appearing on the ball. These challenges allow the children to be tested physically, mentally and socially as they play alone or with friends.

As part of her research and development of the product, Jade visited her former primary school, Oakworth Primary School, to observe how the children interacted with the ball.

She added: “It was great to see the children throwing and kicking it around and then completing the challenges which included doing a handstand, touching something green or answering a maths question. Their input helped me to introduce a character who set them the questions.”

Jade was one of 11 BA (Hons) Product Design students from UCLan who entered the competition.