Letchworth-based electronic design consultancy Datasound Laboratories Ltd (DSL) has announced the winner of its inaugural Design Academy award, a competition run in local schools and colleges to identify engineering excellence among students, promote STEM and encourage a new generation of design engineers.
Jemima Hewitt, a 15-year-old student at St Francis’ College in Letchworth, won the competition with her design for an innovative home recycling crusher that compacts recyclable waste. The device compresses as it fills, enabling a far greater quantity of household waste to be correctly recycled. The tool addresses the issue of overfilled recycling bins and where that overspill can end up.
Jemima won an iPad for herself and £500 of design and technology equipment for her school, to better equip the next generation of engineers.
Hundreds of entrants from a host of local educational establishments were whittled down to a shortlist of ten. The finalists presented their ideas to a packed venue and responded to questions from the expert panel of judges. Each judge marked the entries against four criteria: originality, thoroughness, feasibility and presentation.
DSL’s retired founder, Derek Carpenter, attended the event and the award was named in his honour to recognise his life’s work.
‘We were blown away by the hard work and imagination of all the entrants, but Jemima’s environmentally conscious idea and design just pipped them to the post,’ said Rory Dear, DSL’s managing director. ‘The nine other finalists also presented creative, well-thought-out ideas that spanned a whole host of device types and purposes. The concepts included products that support people with disabilities, address bullying and help those struggling with plant maintenance. Well done and thank you to all the entrants and to the schools and colleges who supported this important initiative.’