New Designers is one of the most important design events in the UK. It was set up to promote design and ensure the life cycle of the design industry continues and thrives. This year was the 32nd edition bringing together design education, design consumers and the design industry to celebrate and recognize the next generation of graduate designers.

As well as hosting a discussion on how product, service and industrial design is improving lives, Design Council took a walk around the exhibition and found student designers creating new products, services and systems that aim to improve our lives.

Our chief executive Sarah Weir OBE picked her top five ‘ones to watch’.

5. Arc by Bethany Wilson

Arc is a wearable device designed for young men aged 18-24 years old to help them take an active role in improving their mental wellbeing. Arc introduces the user to self-help techniques to help prevent anxious episodes. Should these still occur, the wearable device detects the user’s raised heart rate and begins to pulsate to provide a focus on their breathing and prevent prolonged episodes. The device captures anxious activity and GPRS tracking data is visually showcased in the wellbeing app. Arc also offers features such as distraction worry beads and the ability to share information with medical professionals.

Sarah says: “A fantastic product that supports people to self-help and manage their anxiety. Beautifully designed.”

4. Flowboard by Laura Van Krieken

Flow is an intervention enabling office workers to increase the amount of activity and movement they do at work, incorporating it into their movement. With sedentary behaviour linked to health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health, Flow encourages you to do more NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) activity throughout the day and makes you more conscious of your activity levels.

Using the board whilst hanging increases your lower leg movement which helps to improve your metabolism and blood circulation. Lowering the board to the floor allows you to stretch your calf muscles, reducing cramp.

Sarah says: “We need this product in our office. A great example of how to take a problem and address a need through design.”

3. DCB by Vitalia Fadejeva

DCB is an ergonomically designed chopping board that works alongside a smart device, informing users of healthy nutrients that are available in meals and teaching users how to cook those meals.

Sarah says: “This product gives people information at the very point they need it – whilst preparing food, allowing people to make informed decisions about the food they eat.”

2. OMNI by Joshua Wright

OMNI is a smart surface and mobile app that tracks expiry dates displayed on our food packaging. This product aims to reduce food waste. The UK produces 15 million tonnes of food waste each year with households being the largest contributor. £23billion is spent on wasted food per year in the UK costing the average household £60 a month. OMNI uses smart packaging and RFID technology to monitor stored food. Through the OMNI app, users are notified of expiring foods, receive recipe suggestions and importantly they can view their food on the app from anywhere – perfect when you can’t remember what is in the fridge at home.  

Sarah says: “I’m very excited by OMNI. This product has the potential to revolutionize our waste issue.”

1. Dementia home support system by Jacob Paisley

This slick, modern ‘hub’ is an innovative home support system supporting people with early stage dementia when they feel most vulnerable. The system looks to relieve some of the issues that come with the disease short term memory loss. The hub boasts features such as item location – great for finding keys and other important objects around the home, and connection to a home cooking appliance which detects when it is in use and alerts the user at regular intervals if the appliance has not been switched off. If the user doesn’t respond, a text alert is sent to a next of kin.

Sarah says: “A fantastic idea that aims to improve the everyday lives of people with early stage dementia. A true ‘piece of mind’ product designed and developed in partnership with people with dementia. Co-production at its best.”

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