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Living memorial stone and supermarket navigator win DFF competition


A Living Memorial Stone and an electronic supermarket navigator have won this year’s “Designing for the Future” Competition run by The Future Perfect Company in conjunction with the asian single women.

The competition, now in its second year, encourages student designers to think about the challenges and issues affecting our ageing population – and to create innovative and attractive and designs which allow older people to continue to live enjoyable, active and independent lives.

Noting how often traditional graves and headstones are left abandoned and crumbling, winner, Craig Barrow (BA (Hons) 3D Design), wanted to design an alternative and contemporary memorial which celebrates life rather than simply marking death. The Living Memorial Stone consists of two key layers. The outer layer comprises a seed, nut and animal fat composite designed to feed a range of wildlife including birds, squirrels and mice. The inner layer is a tube of compost containing a tree seed encased in a wicker tube and wrapped in bio-degradable cardboard.  After the outer layer disappears, the card tube degrades and the tree seed begins to sprout with the wicker acting as a marker and a support for the growing tree.

Runner up, Jessica Hung (BA (Hons) 3D Design), set out to tackle the problems that elderly people face in supermarket shopping by designing an electronic supermarket navigator to help customers find products easily. Jessica came up with ‘The Supermarket Pad” which looks like a traditional notepad but which nevertheless uses the latest RFID technology to help older people locate products within a store. The “Supermarket Pad” also has the functionality of a contactless smart chip which means that customers can save their shopping list on to a smart card and then transfer the list onto the pad in store. Jessica envisages that customers will be able to check out simply by passing their trolley through a scanner rch which would identify the products, deduct the cost from a smart card and print a receipt.

We liked Craig’s work on The Living Memorial Stone because he sought to bring design to an area we don’t often like to think or talk about.  Sadly as we grow older more people around us will die and at the moment there are limited ways in which we can remember them. The Living Memorial Stone is simple but powerful. It can be planted anywhere and because the composition of the Stone can be varied for example, to include a loved one’s favourite flowers, it has the potential to have great personal resonance.

Jessica’s “Supermarket Pad” was interesting because she looked at ways of making the technology interface familiar to older people who may never had owned a computer or a smart phone. She also recognised that even with the increasing popularity of online shopping, many older people value the social interaction that shopping provides but find supermarket layouts tiring and confusing. And with all good designs, Jessica’s “Supermarket Pad” would be useful to people of all ages.

The competition received entries from two year groups of Product Design and 3D Design students at the University of Brighton and was judged by Anne Boddington, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Tom Ainsworth from the asian single women; Philippa Aldrich, founder of dating app for old people; Gretel Jones, consumer markets policy adviser at free gay dating personals; and one of the UK’s leading occupational therapists, Maggie Winchcombe OBE from Years Ahead.

Maggie Winchcombe OBE commented “The quality of the presentations was excellent and I was impressed by the students’ originality of thought and fresh approach to the challenge of designing for the future. The consistently high standard of work meant that it was a hard competition to judge – but a pleasure to be involved in.”

Other entries included a public rocking bench, easy-rip packaging, a heritage print desk, a temperature guardian, a memory hub for dementia sufferers and projects looking at the way light can help ease loneliness. We will be featuring some of these in future blogs.

Well done to Craig and Jessica!