Sagentia sponsors Loughborough Uni product design engineering project

26 May, 2015

We’ve seen another year of impressive design projects demonstrated by the 2nd year undergraduates of the Product Design Engineering course at Loughborough University. This product design project is an integral part of Loughborough’s second year Product Design Engineering course and has been supported for the last six years by industry partner Sagentia.

As part of the 2014/2015 academic year, Sagentia challenged the students with the project brief of designing and building a prototype device to aid muscle rehabilitation. There were two variants of the brief; focus on the rehabilitation of the upper body limbs, and the lower body limbs.

This module ran across the academic year, throughout which, Sagentia visited the students at key stages of the projects, offering guidance and advice. In addition to producing product solutions that were innovative and technically sound with feasible manufacturing considerations, the students had to also consider the commercial aspects, and their target market needs.

Four consultants from Sagentia attended the final project presentations, awarding prizes to the winning teams. All the teams presented their product concept, some accompanied with impressive working proof of principle prototypes.

Due to the impressive quality of project outputs this year, Sagentia decided to select two winning teams for the first time. Even with one additional winning team to choose, the quality of all the projects made the decision hard.

The winning team for the upper body brief designed a product called ‘MOTIVAID’, an arm band device that was targeted at osteoarthritic patients with pain in the wrist and hand. ‘MOTIVAID’ used transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) as a method of pain relief, and a resistive heat pad to ease stiff joints.

The winning team for the lower body brief designed a product named as ‘Elastic Potential Exercise (EPE)’. This device works as a brace for the knee, providing adjustable resistance with a cable tensioning system.

Commenting on this year’s student projects, Wai Chan, Consultant Mechanical Engineer at Sagentia, said: ‘We aim to set project briefs that are purposeful and have realistic market needs. This year’s brief was especially challenging as human kinetics is an unfamiliar topic for many of the students. But equally, the unfamiliar subject allowed the students to conduct research, interview experts in the field and fully understand the user needs without preconception. The students at Loughborough University rose to the challenge and demonstrated well-considered product solutions. Sagentia is committed to supporting and sharing our experience with future generations of product designers and engineers, and are encouraged to see such a high number of high caliber and enthusiastic undergraduates”.

This is part of Sagentia’s wider Academic Partnership Programme, which aims to bring a real-world perspective to students’ learning and to gain access to some of the best upcoming talent in science, technology, and design. The program includes guest lectureships, developing course material and offering internships and summer placements. Sagentia currently has links with several leading universities both in the UK and the US.

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