03 March 2021
- Words by Rachel Cassell, Marketing Co-ordinator at Loughborough School of Design and Creative Arts
Each year, second year Loughborough Product, Industrial, and Centered Design students are invited to respond to live design briefs put forward by design companies. This provides the students with valuable experience working with industry partners, and the companies the opportunity to access the talents of Loughborough Design students.
HEXR are a technology driven company producing high quality, high performance helmets for cycling. They designed the world’s first custom-fit cycle helmet, offering the perfect fit, the highest safety standards, unparalleled aerodynamic performance, all whilst using sustainable materials.
Using AR guidance, they have also created the HEXR app to help customers begin the bespoke helmet creation process themselves at home, and presented students with the following brief:
“Using the sub-mm Hexr Smartphone scanning solution, create a custom product that is scalable and uses mass production methods.”
The responses were assessed by a jury panel, which comprised of Jamie Cook and Henry Neilson, Co-founders of HEXR, alongside Robin Spicer, Head of Product at HEXR and Loughborough Industrial Design alumnus.
There are three distinct categories for this brief and the winning responses are:
Best of the Best – Tyler Watson
"Many hockey shinpads are made to fit standard sizes, those who deviate from the average are left with insufficient coverage or ill-fitting shin pads. The aim was to avoid using 3D printing and utilise other manufacturing methods to produce a custom fit product. The outcome uses the HEXR sub/mm scanning app, a milled mould and vacuum forming; to shape the Pebax® Rnew® outer shell. Whilst the removable Confor® polyurethane foam is die cut and sewn to a bamboo rash sock, allowing the padding to be machine washed. Moreover, it's seamless fit, extra protection to knees and ankles and being ultra-light weight, aids the players performance."
“Watson has gone into realistic consideration of how this is made at scale, unlike others who either omitted scaled manufacturing despite it being hammered home in the brief or just went with 3DP, reading the drawings she has gone into good detail on real materials, and processes and then tested the product by getting hands on!”
Notable Design Thinking – Max Park
"My response to the brief was to utilise HEXR’s sub-mm scanning solution in order to create glasses frames with a custom fit. The user would use a phone to scan their nose with HEXR’s app, creating an accurate 3D mesh which could then be used to 3D print the bridge section of the glasses (the red, X-shaped component seen in the product images) specifically to the shape of their nose, resulting in a perfect fit. The product has been designed for the long run, with the bridge and lenses being easily replaceable, allowing the product to grow with the user if their prescription or face shape changes."
“Park shows a strong variation in design and has explored several ideas as well as clearly shown the problem with some market insight. Embraced our current product offering and translated it to this product as well, they have also briefly noted how the fitting would change.”
Honourable Mention – Darius Fernandes
"HEXR provided a great and challenging opportunity with their open brief. In response, my proposed design is a BTE hearing aid which uses bone conduction technology. This was a chance to update the product’s aesthetic to be sleeker and more discreet; a refined and approachable form that potential users would be proud to wear over the original hearing aid. Utilising sub-mm scanning, personalised base components can be created for an assured and comfortable fit.”
“Fernandes shows a strong output of design flair and has considered the Hexr brand language.”
Speaking of the experience, Robin commented that:
“Jon Sutton has organised and ran a fantastic design experience for the students allowing them to work with real industry design partners to showcase their talents to ultimately have their work published in their design portfolios. From an industry perspective, it was a simple request to put a brief together and present this at the university. In response we had over 50 students undertake our design brief.”
Jon Sutton, University Teacher in Design Practice also explains that:
“Design Week is an invaluable part of the student experience enabling real world insight within their academic course. Loughborough has a reputation of producing highly employable graduate designers and it is events such as Design Week which position our students well when leaving the University”.
Congratulations to all the students!