Heathcote students attend Design and Engineering Workshop in London

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On Thursday 15th June a group of GCSE Graphics students made the trip into London to take part in a design and engineering workshop run by the James Dyson Foundation in partnership with Brunel University. Ms Richards tells all...

We travelled down to the Southbank to an interesting venue, the Bargehouse, just behind the iconic OXO Tower, where we were greeted by representatives of the ‘Made in Brunel’ team and led to the workshop room: many of the students were taken aback by the industrial style of the old warehouse which is now used as an exhibition and event space. 

The students were given an introduction into how James Dyson started his career as an engineer, with one of his first products being a military boat at the tender age of 22/23, whilst seeing how his perseverance and hard work led him to where he is now. Did you know that the first Dyson vacuum cleaner had over 5000 prototypes made and tested prior to the design being manufactured?!  It was a great lesson in how as designers and engineers you need to have the dedication and will power to continue with an idea, even if you do face failure more than once.

The James Dyson Foundation team introduced the work style of the Dyson company, all the engineers and designers follow the process of design, prototype and test, with the process continuously repeated until they are happy with the product. The workshop was about encouraging this process and highlighting the fact that the design process is continuous and you will face issues.

IMG 1898The students were given the task, along with ten other schools, to design and make a prototype of a product to help in the home that uses air. The brief was very open and some students struggled to begin but the Heathcote students were split into two teams, with one group focusing on the problems they faced and the other thinking of products they could design. Both teams worked hard to find a problem they faced at home, eventually one team coming up with the issue of keeping cool in bed during the summer and the other looking into how to cool hot drinks quickly.

Each team worked to design a solution and make prototypes of their designs, which they would then have to present to the rest of the workshop. This was a daunting idea for the group, but as their ideas developed, they became more confident. Andrea, Irem and Waleed’s group designed the Tempbed, an innovative mattress which was able to blow filtered air (either cooled or warmed) into the bed to suit the user’s requirements, with the idea of using sensors to detect body temperature and an app for more specific control. Afiya, Tijen, Jacob, Matthew and Kai decided upon designing the Cooler Cup, a mug that was able to cool hot drinks to the desired temperature quickly, using air and ice.

Both teams were confident until the other schools began to present their ideas, unfortunately the Tempbed team were shaken by another team with a similar idea being chosen to present before them, whilst the Cooler Cup team found it more difficult to make a prototype of their idea. Both teams provided an entertaining presentation and found the day to be useful and enjoyed the opportunity to explore ideas in a new setting.

After the workshop, the students were able to look around the Made in Brunel Exhibition, a showcase of final year projects from Brunel University’s Design degrees, with some very interesting projects being explored.


Dyson Foundation Brunel University