Inclusive roundabout design wins top prize for Perse pupils in major competition
27 Nov 2018
Hannah Balane and Nicole Tan have won a design competition aimed at making life better for people with rare conditions.
The Year 11 pupils entered the RAREsolutions contest, organised by the Cambridge Rare Disease Network (CRDN), which challenged youngsters aged 11 to 18 to find innovative solutions to one of three different real-life scenarios.
They chose the task of designing an inclusive piece of play equipment for seven-year-old Eilidh, a wheelchair user who has KAT6A – a syndrome affecting only around 100 people in the world. Features of KAT6A include global developmental delays and sensory development issues, including problems with communication.
Hannah and Nicole contacted Eilidh’s mother Vaila to find out more about her condition, and having brainstormed other ideas, including an inclusive see-saw and play pen, they settled on designing a ‘rainbow roundabout’ after running their suggestions past a number of parties, including Student Community Action, Saffron Walden Opportunity Playgroup and Milton Country Park.
While Nicole focused on the multi-coloured design, which also included chimes and adapting the size of the spaces to allow for wheelchair users to play, Hannah carried out research into what could make the roundabout become a reality.
Hannah said: “The roundabout is a simple idea, but we thought if we considered different aspects such as the social, environmental and economic benefits to back it up, it would help present the design in its best light.”
Nicole added: “I think the main reason this roundabout was a successful idea is because it’s quite realistic. Designers know these days with their decreasing budgets that they’re not going to find the money to fund extravagant ideas, so taking something that already exists that can be upgraded and bring the community together is much more feasible and understandable.”
Having managed to complete the project from start to finish in just five-and-a-half days, Hannah and Nicole were amazed to be told they were the overall winners. The competition judges were impressed by their empathy for Eilidh and Vaila, their excellent communication skills, the sensitivity and thoughtfulness of their approach, their research skills and creativity and for the professionalism they had shown.
They will now give a presentation about their design during a VIP reception at RAREfest18 in Cambridge’s Guildhall on Saturday (1 December) as well as receiving a £100 prize and certificate from Abcam founder and biotech entrepreneur Jonathan Milner. The poster featuring their design will also go on exhibition at the event.
Hannah said: “The competition was split into three age categories and our goal was to make the top 10, so we were shocked, very happy and excited after winning overall. It wouldn’t take much to develop the roundabout and we’d love to see this in the future.”
Organised by CRDN, RAREFest takes place at the Guildhall on Friday and Saturday. For more information and tickets, which are free but must be booked in advance, click here.