The Manufacturing Institute

Young inventors bring gadget designs to life at Fab Lab Manchester

8 January 2013

Two lucky teenagers have had the chance to turn their ideas for brand new gadgets into real-life prototypes at Fab Lab Manchester after winning a national competition.

“We Made It!”, a campaign aimed at getting young people thinking about careers in manufacturing, invited 13 – 16 year olds throughout the UK to let their imagination run wild and design a brand new product, whether it be a gismo to help with homework or a piece of sports equipment to make PE more fun.

Adam Kassell from Worthing, West Sussex, beat over 360 other entries submitted via local MPs from around the country with an innovative design for bicycle safety clips with built-in “super bright” LED lights that can be programmed to spell words, enabling motorists to see cyclists more clearly on the road.

Meanwhile Joseph Kruczkowski from Enfield, Middlesex, wowed the judging panel with his idea for a new type of study lamp, which lights a page more evenly enabling people to study for longer without straining their eyes.

Over Christmas, both Adam and Joseph brought their winning designs to the UK’s first Fab Lab, a digital fabrication laboratory in Manchester. Working with the Lab’s expert staff they began the process of creating prototypes of their inventions, which will be launched at a special awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on 29 January 2013.

Dr Eddie Kirkby, Charity and Operations Support Manager at The Manufacturing Institute, said: “This competition aimed to show children right across the country that manufacturing is about design and creativity as well as hands-on making of products. From fashion and video game consoles to cars and airplanes, there are many varied industries with manufacturing at their heart and where exciting career opportunities exist. At Fab Lab Manchester, we’re enjoying helping Adam and Joseph bring their designs to life, from initial concept right through to the finished product.”

Commenting on the day, Joseph Kruczkowski said: “My experience at the Fab Lab was a fantastic opportunity to develop my own design, as well as help develop Adam's. It was also great to get professional advice on the designs from the Fab Lab team and to see what the machinery there is capable of producing. Going through the design cycle to help improve the designs was very useful as it helped us think about our designs from a different perspective and how they can appeal to a wider market than we first thought.”

“We Made It” saw designs and ideas from six national finalists being judged by a panel of manufacturing experts including The Dods UK Manufacturing Dialogue, The Manufacturing Institute, Boeing, Finmeccanica, Lloyds Banking Group, the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Renewable UK and the Confederation of Paper Industries.

For more information about the competition visit www.wemadeituk.co.uk

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