Gabrielle McNeelance, studying Mechanical Engineering (MEng), sailed through this competition with her innovative design of an osteoarthritis knee brace, coming out on top and winning £500!

Commenting about her recent win, Gabrielle said,

“The project is to re-think the process in which braces for knee osteoarthritic are designed using Fusion 360 – Generative design. Generative design allows us to input patient specific data collected in a clinical setting (i.e. knee angle or weight), to create a number of optimised solutions tailored to a patient's needs. The aim of this is to improve brace comfort and therefore encourage the wearing of the brace.

It is a great competition, giving the opportunity to present my work. It is a great feeling to get positive feedback on a piece of work I have really enjoyed working hard on.”

Raymont-Osman Product Design set up this prize to promote design and development engineering as a career, and the competition is open to both BEng and MEng University of Birmingham students at the start of their final year - the alma mater of both Tom Osman and Kelly Raymont-Osman, graduating in 2004 and 2009 respectively.

The prize has been co-organised with Dr Jason Stafford, Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and the coordinator of the Final Year Project Module.

With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Tom featured in a video to launch the competition to students. The students were asked to summarise their proposal on what they were designing and/or developing for their final year project, how they would do it and highlighting why it is important or interesting. The winner and honourable mentions were announced via a video message.

Raymont-Osman judging panel

Commenting about the competition, Tom Osman said,

“Having begun the Raymont-Osman Prize last year, we were not going to let a global pandemic get in our way of promoting design and development as a career amongst UoB Mechanical Engineering students! The judges were particularly impressed with Gabrielle McNeelance’s design of an osteoarthritis knee brace: this project showed creative and practical ingenuity with the aim of improving the quality of life for patients. It was clear, concise and professionally presented and we are certain that she has a bright future ahead of her.”

“Now, more than ever, we feel that it is vital that our future professionals feel part of the design community – especially given the many challenges of online learning. Working virtually has still allowed us to launch this year’s award, review the fantastic entries and reward excellence. That said, we hope to be able to launch the 2021/22 prize in person!”

2021 Honourable mentions include:

  • Jafar Adam - Cooling of electric vehicle batteries
  • Andy Preston - Novel Gripper for picking up porous mats
  • Benjamin Hutchins - MicroscoPy 2.0

Congratulations to Gabrielle and a huge well done to all of the students on taking part in this great competition. We look forward to launching the Raymont-Osman Design and Development Prize next year (hopefully in person!)