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Helen Hamlyn Design Awards 2013

Age UK Award for Inclusive Design

Joint Winner

  • Synergise 
  • Patrick Hyland (RCA Innovation Design Engineering)

A hand-operated mechanical system that allows wheelchair users to negotiate angled and cambered surfaces, which adversely affect wheelchair propulsion, with greater ease and control. Synergise uses a simple ratchet system and can be retrofitted inexpensively to many existing wheelchairs.

Judge's comment:
“An elegant and eminently practical analysis and solution to a much neglected problem." Prof James Goodwin, Age UK 

Joint Winner

  • AudioWeb 
  • Samuel Jewell: RCA Innovation Design Engineering

Online we exploit colour, images, video and animations to communicate, often excluding people with low vision. Instead they are limited to a single voice reading the page from top to bottom. AudioWeb uses different voices and sound effects to make their experience of the internet as easy, fun and meaningful as it is for the sighted.

Judge's comment:
“This addresses an issue of increasing importance in an ageing population - it enables the visually impaired community to handle everyday life more easily." Prof James Goodwin, Age UK

Age UK
Age UK works to improve later life for everyone by providing life-enhancing services and vital support. It was established in April 2009 through the merger of Age Concern England and Help the Aged.

Clearblue Design Award for Healthcare and Patient Safety


  • Healthcare Anytime-Anywhere
  • Stephen Matthews (Innovation Design Engineering)

This project proposes a fully integrated healthcare service to manage chronic diseases such as diabetes. A wearable patch dispenses medication from six chambers and is loaded with intelligent sensors that transmit their data via a wireless link to a mobile phone. Type I Diabetes was used as a case study to demonstrate proof of concept.

 Judge's comment:
"One individual has got as far in his Masters degree as many a large corporation with multi-million-dollar budgets. This has application far beyond diabetes." Brian Firth, Swiss Precision Diagnostics

Clearblue is the brand name of Swiss Precision Diagnostics, which was formed in 2007 as a joint venture between Inverness Medical Innovations and Procter & Gamble to create, using its parent companies' complementary strengths, one of the world's foremost organisations in consumer diagnostics.

Technology Strategy Board Award for Independent Living


  • Touch*Play - Research into Autism
  • Lingjing Yin (RCA Design Products)

This project explores how technology could be used to enable children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions to play, explore and express their emotions and feelings. Touch*Play is a device that can record sound by pushing a button. The only way to playback the recorded sound is to touch another person, requiring cooperation and interaction with other people. (In collaboration with Mark McKeague, RCA Design Interactions).

 Judge's comment:
"A really clever use of technology with emphasis on human interaction. A concept has application beyond autism connecting people of different ages and abilities." Mike Biddle, Technology Strategy Board.

Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is an executive non-departmental public body that is all about driving innovation. Its role is to stimulate technology-enabled innovation in the areas that offer the greatest scope for boosting UK growth and productivity. It advises the Government on how to remove barriers to innovation and accelerate the exploitation of new technologies.

GMW Architects Award for Work & City


  • Fairground Collective
  • Bethany Wells (RCA Architecture)

Access to spaces for education is under threat. This project explores how the agency of the architect can expand to support ethical access to tools, land and resources. It advocates an ethical architectural strategy to occupy unused space on a high street in Finsbury Park, London, bridging education, design practice and community action.

Judge's comment:
“This is Big Society by stealth tackling issue like education. It expands the role of the architect within the social sphere." Tim Hardingham, GMW Architects

GMW Architects
An award winning architectural and interior design practice based in London, with affiliate offices throughout Europe. GMW offers a wide range of skills and experience in the office, retail, transportation and leisure sectors. Its involvement with the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design represents an important component of its research activity and commitment to being at the leading edge of new thinking.

Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Alumni


  • Medical innovation with Imperial College
  • Edward Goodwin and Richard Hartshorn (Industrial Design Engineering Graduates 2001, Helen Hamlyn Research Associates 2002)

Over the past five years, the industrial design practice of Goodwin Hartshorn has worked closely with clinicians and researchers at Imperial College London to develop a series of innovations for keyhole and robotic surgery.

 Judge's comment:
"This design partnership, founded while on the Helen Hamlyn Research Associates programme, has gone on to undertake design work with Imperial College that is both hugely collaborative and truly groundbreaking." Jeremy Myerson, Director, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

Helen Hamlyn Design Award for Creativity


  • 21st Century Healthcare and Treatment Case
  • David Swann (RCA Vehicle Design)

This project redesigns the traditional black nursing bag carried by community nurses on home visits - a case which has been largely unchanged for the past 100 years. This 21st century design aims to enhance patient safety by optimising hand decontamination performances, increasing clinical efficiency through modularity and improving productivity of the health visitor.

Judge's comment:
“The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design is proud to be involved in patient safety, an area of great importance, and to be working with NHS Trusts. This innovation is a much-needed, practical solution based on solid PhD research." Lady Hamlyn

Highly Commended

  • Synergise
  • Patrick Hyland (RCA Innovation Design Engineering)

A hand-operated mechanical system that allows wheelchair users to negotiate angled and cambered surfaces with greater ease and control.

Judge's comment:
“A simple idea to make a difference for wheelchair users. The motivation and care behind this project is admirable." Lady Hamlyn