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Wednesday 14 November 2018

BA (Hons) Product Design students recently had the opportunity to partner with technology giant IBM on their 'Design for Industry' unit, working to a live brief and enabling them to gain real world experience that will support their future careers.

Initially students met with MA Creative Direction for Fashion and Beauty students who were researching the Internet of Things, which ultimately led to some undergraduate and postgraduate students joining forces on projects. The students were then invited to a presentation by the IBM design team (based near Winchester), where they received a fascinating presentation on the Internet of Things, followed by a live project brief. 

In response to the brief, students developed a variety of intricate designs including internet connected wardrobes, live sign language interpretation, rowing technique recorders, and smart fruit bowls. 

Representatives from IBM were then invited to Solent where students presented their designs. Two winners were selected, who have been offered the fantastic opportunity of work experience within IBM's design team. 

We caught up with one of the winning students, Jack Sykes, who told us about his rowing technique recorder, along with what his career aspirations are.

Congratulations on your win, Jack! Tell us about your design proposal

I based my project around rowing, a sport which I take part in daily. It's a social way to share scores and record how the rower is doing on the water in real time. The social element was designed to keep people into rowing through competitiveness with others and even themselves. I made two sensors which connect to a screen, and which would be attached to the boat at opportune angles.

How did it feel to be selected as the winner?

It felt great; a surprising win. I really didn’t feel confident before the presentation, but once I got up there and started talking about my product and rowing, something I know a lot about, I was fine. I answered all questions easily and didn’t forget anything (which I was worried about).

What do you hope to go onto after graduation?

Ideally I’d like to go in exhibition design. I’ve been looking at other options too. I keep changing my mind and at this moment just want to get the best grade possible in June.

Alan Manley senior lecturer in product design said “We would like to thank IBM and its representatives who judged the final projects and provided invaluable industry level feedback. Working with IBM in this way really helps our product design students get real world experience and prepare for employment."