UCLan student reaches design competition final

22 May 2017

Kayleigh Dobson shortlisted for her innovative AirBaby device

A final year student from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been shortlisted for a national product design competition after creating a new device to make travel easier.

Kayleigh Dobson has been named as a finalist in the 2017 Design Innovation in Plastics competition for her inflatable lap seat invention called ‘AirBaby’ portable.

The competition brief, ‘Products for Independent Travel,’ asked the creative students to design an innovative product, primarily in plastic, that will provide a more comfortable and less stressful travel experience

The product design student, from Clitheroe, said her product had started out as quite a simple concept idea, before she refined it.

“I’ve enjoyed developing a concept for a specific brief, thinking more in depth about the final materials of the product, researching new materials and their wider impact on the environment,” she said. 

"The finalists have clearly thought through their designs and shown that they are familiar with their market."

Kayleigh is one of six university students from across the United Kingdom who made the shortlist after judges spent two days sifting and scrutinising 166 entries. She, along with the other students, presented her product to the judging panel on 19 May for final scrutiny, and must now wait until 30 June, when the winner will be announced at a ceremony in London.

The competition, which is sponsored by global high-tech plastics company Covestro, is organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners.

Chairman of the judges Richard Brown, managing director of RJG Technologies Ltd, said:  “We were most impressed with both the inventiveness and creativity of the finalists as well as the approach they took."

Covestro design engineer Mike Stuart added: “The finalists have clearly thought through their designs and shown that they are familiar with their market.  One or two ideas were clever in their simplicity, and just need developing a little further, and in one case where an idea was not in itself totally new, the student has found a new application which has made it novel, and helps satisfy the competition criteria.”

The prestigious Design Innovation in Plastics Award is the longest running student plastics design competition in Europe, having been established in 1985.