For the past few years, Fearsome have sponsored the Product Design Engineering degree show at the Glasgow School of Art and offered the prestigious FutureMaking Award. A selected graduate is offered the chance to work alongside the innovative design company over the course of a summer internship, giving them an immediate foot into industry and a taste of working on live product development projects.
Last year’s winner was Olesia Kurganova whose project tried to change the experience we offer babies and their parents during flights. In particular the panel was impressed with the diligence Olesia showed in engaging parents, flight attendants and other people in her market, in order to discover what their scenarios look like now and how they might be improved.
This year’s cohort of graduating students was described as “producing one of the highest standards of work to date” by fearsome’s own and head judge for the 2017 Fearsome FutureMaking Award, Alan Suttie . The prestigious award this year went to 24-year old Georgina Seviour from North Queensferry for Rebeat: an innovation which aims to minimise the sensations of stress and anxiety.
Rebeat is designed to help people to go about their day in a calmer state through using technology that lowers the individual’s heartbeat to a relaxed pace.
Announcing the Award Alan said: “We were hugely impressed with not only the design, but the level of research and trialling that Georgina has undertaken. She has proposed a novel solution that could make a massive difference for so many people.”
Four weeks into her internship, we were able to catch up with Georgina about her experience with Fearsome and some of her plans for the future.
Can you tell us a little more about your winning project?
Rebeat is a device that helps to reduce high heart rates. The device lowers the wearer’s pulse and produces a calming ‘beat’ to minimise the experience of stress and anxiety.
Rebeat does this by producing a calm artificial pulse that counters the stress response. While Rebeat is active it reads the user’s heart rate and produces the calm pulse, a soft sensation felt by the user on their wrist. It has a relaxing effect and has been found to lower heart rate by as much as 21%.
Substantial testing was conducted: testing under a 2 minute stressed condition showed a global average heart rate reduction of 5.8 bpm. Long term testing showed that an individual who wore the product for a total of 16 hours over a 2 week period, had a lower heart rate when wearing the product than without. A double blind study showed that placebo effects are negligible.
However, what’s exciting about this product is that it has many potential applications. Imagine if athletes could have a lower heart rate whilst competing – how would that affect their performance? Studies that if you have a lower heart rate but a critical heart condition you are likely to live longer than a person with a higher heart rate and a less critical condition.
What have you been working on during your internship with Fearsome?
I’ve been working on a project where we’re looking at heating systems within housing and what these systems might look like in the future. It’s a fun, innovative project to be working on. There’s a lot of researching into the current issues with heating: from the tenants’ perspective, the contractors’ and the housing association. Now we’re at the stage where we’re piecing the puzzle together and looking at how we can innovate around these problems.
It’s an area where there hasn’t really been a lot of innovation within the system of the way things are run, so there’s a lot of potential for improvement.
What have you gained from your experience working with Fearsome?
I’ve always been really passionate about product design and engineering and working with Fearsome has confirmed that I want to do it on a daily basis. I’m learning a lot through working with them – they’re really future thinking.
I also lacked experience in an actual working environment, and so far i’ve found working with others at Fearsome really beneficial. I think one of the best things about the experience has been being around other people that are really skilled in different design disciplines and learning from them.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
That’s an exciting question! Well, I really like start-ups and new product developments. So I would hope that I was working in that kind of area, either leading new product developments within an established company or working with a start-up – either on my own, or one that I’m part of. I definitely want to be an active person in innovation technology and the creative environment, because it is such a valuable asset to society.
I feel like design is totally changing – In the past we used to have these set categories: of interaction, service, product – and other different sets of fields, but now more and more so projects are becoming a combination of all these different fields of design. In the future I would look to dabble in other fields of design and not just product, but I do want to go forward with design and engineering.
Is there anything else you’re working on at the moment?
I’m involved in a project in Norway that I began when I was there on exchange. The project is attempting to get more young people into engineering by changing the perspective of engineering: Previously it’s been seen as quite a theoretical discipline and is also very male dominated. We’re trying to bring into Primary classrooms that it doesn’t need to be so limited, and you can do practical problem solving in real-life contexts – not just with a pencil and a calculator. When I was in Norway I was really inspired because there they have a lot more females participating in engineering. I remember when I first started engineering I was really intimidated because I had this very limited understanding of what it was. I want to help change that image and make people see that its so much more.
Do you continue to see yourself working collaboratively?
There’s a bigger chance of innovation if you’re working collaboratively.