Design solutions to the world’s most urgent challenges can come from anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Our Thinking Ahead programme is a flexible global design challenge to encourage young people to consider how and why a future in engineering might be the perfect career fit.
Our inaugural Thinking Ahead programme took place this summer.
For three weeks attendees designed a colour and light installation at Canada Water. Building on our Summer School project to create dementia friendly communities, Thinking Ahead – Light Up! sought ideas for a space that attracts people from a range of backgrounds to visit, reflect and relax.
We are delighted to be announce the winners in five categories. Winners each received a personal feedback and coaching session with an industry leader.
I am a Year 13 student studying Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics and Economics for my A-levels. My short-term goal is to be accepted into the Design Engineering Course offered by Imperial College London. I joined the TEDI-London Thinking Ahead programme to gain some practical experience and learn more about user-centred designing.
Through the programme, I learnt a lot about how to research for and present a project, as well as the thought process required in designing. My ‘end-goal’, in terms of my career, would be to open my own firm based around creating products.
My design idea is an indoor park. The park will mimic a summer day, with a colour-blind friendly flower wall, waterfall and underfloor aquarium. There is an area which can be outsourced to fast food joints and/or cafes (such as Starbucks or McDonald's), and there are benches and tables so that visitors can eat, work or relax comfortably. This park hopes to accommodate the needs of two main groups of people from the design challenge; Those who are visually impaired (primarily colour blind but the park is designed for all issues) and those affected by Seasonally Affected Disorder. Although the building is focused on addressing the needs of these two groups, the market for this indoor park is very large, especially considering the United Kingdom is known for its cold weather!
I love all things STEM-related. I’m currently taking Maths, Physics, and Computer Science and hoping to go down something tech, astronomy, or engineering related in the future. I joined the Light up! project mainly to get an insight into TEDI-London and also to gain some engineering experience, one of the main things that I learned from the project was definitely how much you had to think and include when designing a building. I’ve learned so much about TEDI and dementia. The hardest part of the project was prototyping and I have never had experience on how to prototype before so I resorted to using something I am somewhat familiar with which was Minecraft. My end goal is to go to space one day.
My project was an activity centre with a garden in the middle, the building is shaped like a stadium. I explored a lot into dementia and colours and those were my key aspects. My design inspiration was from an incomplete project at school that we were doing before COVID-19 broke out.
Hi, my name is Jorge, I am an A-level student, currently studying in the Canary Islands, Spain. Throughout my upbringing, I have witnessed how various urban projects claiming to “push the limits” have damaged the environment and ecosystems around them, while at the same time not satisfying the living needs of minor groups in society. I was attracted to the Thinking Ahead programme due to its approach on how engineering can be mobilized, and its capacity for forecasting a future where dynamic cities support and cooperate with those suffering from disabilities. In a society where “pushing the limits” usually trails behind the name of any new development, I also saw this programme as an opportunity to develop an alternative pathway: to engage creatively within the limits of our own living condition and the natural surroundings that we inhabit.
The “Pergola” project was carved out of four key objectives: to allow people with dementia to be autonomous and induce a sense of self-sufficiency, to persuade socialization and include people with dementia back into the community, to increase exposure to nature and sunlight, and finally to develop an environmentally friendly solution.
Taking inspiration from the Alzheimer's Society logo, the whole project is based on the confluence of elliptical pathways emanating from a central elliptical pergola − a biomimetic structure inspired on the engineering of a leaf. The way in which the loops interact with each other shapes a network of different routes that can be explored and enjoyed. Nevertheless, the cyclic design of the project means that regardless of the route that is taken, you will always end up under the central pergola.
This intricate design concept introduces back into the lives of those with dementia the ability to take their own decisions and be self-reliant, but at the same time inducing a sense of safety and the assurance that they will never get lost, nor be in danger.
My name is Shourya Gupta and I am a year 13 student. I have always been creative and aspire to find creative solutions to problems. I spend my free time pursuing hobbies such as painting and baking. I have done numerous design projects which revolve around social issues such autism, sedentary lifestyles, and most recently visual impairments for the thinking ahead programme. I joined the programme to expand my skills within the design sector and to gain expertise in different areas of engineering as I am planning to apply to a course at university for design engineering.
My project is a sensory experience for people who are affected by visual impairments. It uses a wave mechanism that corresponds to the surrounding music paired with diffused lighting to allow for a tactile experience which stimulates senses such as touch, hearing, and sight.
I'm Vritika, a 17 year old A-level student from London. I study Maths, Physics and Economics and hope to work structural engineering and architecture in the future. I joined the Light Up programme as a personal project to help me decide if engineering and design was the right career path for me. I also wanted to challenge myself creatively and generally learn more about the interdisciplinary aspects of engineering. The project did exactly that, as well as improving my confidence in creating and presenting a prototype. I also was introduced to a broad range of new topics from Art, to Psychology, to Sustainability and Colour Theory, all of which I could further research and implement into my final project.
My Project is a community focused building, with the specific aim of creating an inclusive and accessible space for those suffering with dementia, Alzheimer's and visual impairments. I included key aspects which I had learnt from the learning tree, about Sustainability, User Centred Design and Psychology. I used SketchUp, a 3D design software to create my prototype as well as Photoshop Sketch to create initial sketches of my design.
My name is Kahinju Joan Byaruhanga, an ambitious Ugandan student in her third year pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. My passions and interests lie in problem solving thus my need to pursue a course in civil engineering, baking, reading and watching biographic content and being a team player. I joined the Thinking Ahead taster Light Up! to use my engineering knowledge together with the additional knowledge availed through the programme to solve and design real life problems affecting a large population of people today, attain connections with people globally to increase my social capital and lastly to improve my exposure to knowledge about core issues affecting our neighbors and how to go about tackling them.
The outcome from this was beyond exceptional as I learnt how to apply knowledge practically, the power of team work as I teamed up with a member from the programme, proper planning and time management, increased social capital through the connections made and lastly different life skills that have shaped me up for the future. My future ambitions are to work diligently to solve real life problems across the world through engineering mainly in the infrastructural sector and have a successful baking business!
Our project, designed by Donald and I, was a dementia leisure centre that sought to provide various activities as well as combat the fears and discomfort of people living with dementia through their experiences in other common leisure centres where they are faced with the challenges of adapting to available programmes and activities instead of being catered for specifically solely. The centre is a one storey structure incorporated with vast entertainment and co-curricular activities e.g. gyms, art therapy, bounce Alzheimer’s therapy, indoor games, dancing classes, library, a café and an outdoor space characterised by beautiful vegetation for relaxation, all with the aim of improving their cognitive, physical and social ability.
Our inspiration was purposely drawn from the insufficiency of centre’s in the UK as well as in our country that entertain and allow the people living with dementia especially the geriatric population to engage with each other as well as explore vast co-curricular modalities that will enrich them holistically which is attributed to the insecurity to engage in outdoor activities since they feel stigmatised and are doubtful of the support the community may give them.
I am by the names of Komurubuga Donald Marvin and I’m a Year 3 civil engineering student from Ndejje University, Uganda. I joined the programme to enhance my knowledge in the engineering field and to get a chance to learn and interact with different personalities about what the field is like. I was able to learn about the different design and construction considerations when designing structures more so when dealing people with dementia
The project we worked on was a leisure centre design to cater for people with dementia. We were inspired to work on this because people with dementia often are secluded from the different leisure centres and if not they find it had to adapt to that surrounding. The purpose of designing this leisure centre is to create a place where dementia patients can come have fun while feeling safe and comfortable and their needs are well taken care of.
On the academic side of things, I am a 20-year-old Loughborough Mechanical Engineering student; I have just completed my foundation year and passed with a 90% average grade. For this, I was awarded a scholarship by the university. My future aspirations are quite broad at the moment as I have not yet completed my degree but I hope to find an area that I am especially interested by later in the course. I chose Mechanical Engineering because I enjoy problem-solving; Maths and Physics were my favourite subjects at school.
My projects chosen user group was young women as they are emerging as a high-risk group for anxiety. The design was inspired by the Van Gogh immersive experience at the Atelier des Lumieres art exhibition in Paris which I visited last year. I also studied A Level psychology and a large portion of the content was focused on mental health (clinical and cognitive psychology).
I’m Elliott Tranfield, I am an incoming Year 12 student studying A-Level Maths, Physics and Economics. I joined the Light Up! programme because it took lots of aspects of things I already had an interest in like psychology, engineering and sustainability and combined them together in a project that could benefit other people. The programme helped me to gain a better insight into what we can do to make art more accessible and meaningful to people with visual impairments and mental health conditions. In the future, I hope to attend a university like Imperial College London or King’s College London to study Physics and eventually become an aeronautical engineer because I am very interested in Space and the development of more sustainable space travel.
My project was designed for those with depression and anxiety in mind. My sculpture was of a woman in a fetal position to symbolise people being too closed off when it comes to their mental health and instead encouraging people to talk about it. It had pulsating LED lights for people to sync their breath with which is needed if people are having anxiety attacks. The colours of the sculpture are orange and green because of their positive psychological effects and their high contrast makes it easier for people with visual impairments to see it.
I am from Swansea in South Wales and I attend a sixth-form college where I am studying A levels in History, Physics, Maths and Economics. At University I wish to study Architecture as I love to design and create projects. As it was difficult to get work experience this summer, the TEDI-London Engineering Summer School was a great way to gain experience of working to a fixed timescale for a project. As part of the course my mentors, who were University students, gave me lots of advice about my project, and I was also able to discuss University choices with them.
I chose to design and create a community café to link to my interest in Architecture. Owing to the effects of lockdown on wellbeing and mental health, I felt that I would create a building for the community that could be used to bring users with mental health issues together to meet and get advice. I included a meeting space but also a café, as I thought it could be then used by lots of other groups in the local community. I tried to include a number of sustainable features in my plan, including solar panels and rainwater-flushing toilets. I was able to show my finished ideas using Minecraft and a 3D model made from basic building materials such as cardboard.
Hi I'm Aaryan! I'm currently an A-Level student looking to go to university and complete a STEM related degree. I joined the Thinking Ahead: Light up! programme because I'm interested in engineering and creating by attempting fun projects. The programme broadened my view on engineering as a whole, as I was able to strengthen my engineering skills but also learn about product design and pitching a product.
My product (called Occasio) is an interactive facial exercise for Parkinson’s patients who suffer from facial weakness. It consists of a robot hand that moves to complete a simple task of placing an object in a box by reading different facial expressions, and it achieves this through using Google's teachable machine website to encode facial expressions of the participant. To complete the task the participant must perform 7 different facial movements.
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