Research & Innovation Services

Winning product designer awarded 5k at Bath event

Simon Lyons from Loughborough University was the winning designer at the ifOnly UX Product Design Conference, organised by Bath R&D last month. IfOnly is a concept and free smart phone app designed by Bath R&D in the University of Bath, to highlight practical problems that older and disabled people experience around the home.

Older and disabled people were asked to download the ‘ifOnly’ smart phone app and upload short films of typical problems they encounter with household products. These videos formed the basis for the 'ifOnly' competition with student designers viewing the films and attempting to create innovative design solutions to solve the illustrated problems.

Competition finalists were selected by a judging panel of experts in advance of the event at the Hilton Bath City Hotel, which brought together emerging designers and offered a challenge to design students and innovators to make things better.

Lisa Austin, Research Hub Manager in the Department for Health at the University, who designed the conference, commented: “We are extremely proud of the finalist achievement in this competition against some very high calibre entries. We are grateful to the judges in helping to choose the winning entry by Simon Lyons, which is a simple but effective cutting device. Martin Fortune was especially helpful in providing a user perspective for the proposed products.”

Simon said, "My idea is a new simple tool to help the elderly open difficult packaging - lids they have to peel off, milk cartons, difficult to open packets, packages for ham, meats - things that either require quite a bit of strength, gripping and pulling to tear apart, or normally end up with people resort into knives which can be quite dangerous, so I look at safer, easier to use solution".

The event was supported by KT Equal, a consortium of UK researchers dedicated to extending quality of life for older and disabled people; Bath Research and Development; and ALAN (Assisted Living Action Network).

Further information on ifOnly.

Left to right: Christine Sidenko (Marketing Assistant, University of Bath) and Simon Lyons – the winner of the ifOnly competition (Loughborough University); Simon Lyons with Leanne George (Nottingham Trent University), Martynas Gailiusas (Bradford University), James Bristow (Falmouth University College), Samuel Clarke (Brunel University).