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Product Design Engineering

Welcome to Product Design Engineering 2020.It is clear that formats have changed and approaches have been developed to respond to the crisis that we all face. One thing that hasn’t changed is the opportunity to celebrate the work of our students, this year should be no different.

This is a time when we have to reflect on the ethos and process of Product Design Engineering. The Department has always been based upon developing technology that improves the quality of life. Has there been a more important time to promote this message? You may well be aware of projects from previous Degree Shows that are now in the market place and have seen articles about products being developed in response to the Global situation. A number of PDE graduates are directly involved in these projects and the Department is extremely proud of them.

The PDE network ranging from graduates to employers to Professional Statutory Bodies (we were successfully reaccredited this academic session) provides confidence that Industry requires highly capable Product Design Engineering Graduates.  The partnership with leading software developer Autodesk to the engagement and collaboration with local industry and Enterprise provides evidence that the PDE process and ethos is highly valued. Let’s take a moment to think about the word Process. It’s a word that is introduced to students on Day 1, Year 1 and that word quickly becomes the foundation for their studies and future careers. Day 1 of PDE may seem like a long time ago, but it was when friendships were made that will last a lifetime. On behalf of the PDE Department, it’s been a pleasure to have been part of your past, present and hopefully future – stay in touch!

Craig Whittet
Head of Department
Product Design Engineering






Elecgo Title Page

Product in situ

Ideation Sketches

the batteries were modelled around the existing Edinburgh e-bikes the design alterations were minimal and only included to allow safe and comfortable user handling. The station concepts then iterated through different infrastructure connections, attachments and exchange interactions.

Prototyping Iterations

Prototypes were used to iterate the design, establish scale and test user journey steps.

The Elecgo Charging System

includes the modular charge station, the retrofitting battery to bike connector and the unique batteries designed for user handling.

Exploded View

Charge Station overview

Exchange Interaction

The fall-down door design creates an angled lip to rest the weight of the battery before insertion. The slope creates easy downward sliding action.

Unique Elecgo Batteries

E-bike batteries are deceptively heavy and therefore weight and handling was an important exchange interaction design consideration. Comfort and portability were tested in real weight scenarios for evaluation.

Elecgo Station Render

Modularity Animation

Accessible Adrenaline Auto-injector

User scenario video

A video showing a scenario of a user interacting with the Accessible Adrenaline Auto-injector

Product Details

A visual of the important features of the design

Bringing awareness of anaphylaxis through colours and branding

An important goal for this project was to raise awareness of anaphylaxis and how severe it can be. Implementing dispensers in public places with an orange branding allows people to recognise what is it and what it is for

Management of Product

Ways in which the medical device will be managed to ensure it is safe to use

The bigger picture kit consists of a river sampling kit that allows the user to take water samples from their local rivers; and a microplastics analysis kit that allows them to test this sample for plastics. Freshwater environments vary greatly ,due to human and non-human influence and because of this so too do the citizen access points, It was essential that the kit could be used safely resulting in the development of a bridge and bank deploying method. The materials were chosen using CES analysis thus minimise the negative social and environmental impact of the materials and manufacture, coupled with a renting business model, creates a sustainable product.

I started this project by looking into how societies and individuals interact and relate to rivers as an example of our unbalanced relationships with ecological systems. I choose this example due to the breadth and depth at which rivers have and do cross through societies. My research developed into gaining an understanding of how river health is defined, measured and the current threats to freshwater ecology. I found through a range of interviews, river visits and literature that comparison of rivers under analysis to rivers (or models) unaffected by human interaction is essential to understanding river health (Milne. Ian, SEPA, 2019, Karr, 1999). Also, that as other pollution levels are decreasing micro-plastics pollution has been increasing at an alarming rate within rivers having a deadly impact on the freshwater ecosystem of which the extent is not known.

The first iteration of prototypes was based on the manta net/trawl - a method of allowing river water to pass through netting to capture both fragments and fibres - commonly used to sample microplastics in freshwater. The popularity of this method is evident - a 2017 paper reviewing microplastic freshwater systems sampling methods reported 50% use (Li et al., 2018). This however did not pick up plastics in part due to the resistance of the net and the structure in the water, which led to the idea generation and testing of a pump that would pull the water up faster than the speed of the flow therefore removing the resistance and positive hydraulic pressure within the inlet. When samples where analysed it was seen that there was plastic suspended in the sediment.

I performed lab analysis of the river samples taken using prototypes to ensure the scientific weight of the data collected and to test the user experience of analysis. The results from this were shocking, even after reading round the issue and having an understanding of the problem, testing local rivers that I have an emotional connection with was deeply upsetting. Finding an abundance of micro and nano plastics in a rural glen with no settlements in the river basin suggests that these plastics are well established in the water system while a test in the River Kelvin (results above) show the dramatic existent of the pollution.

The ergonomic aspects (anthropometrics, physiology and psychology) of the design were considered in detail through out the design to ensure that the whole user journey of this citizen science kit and surrounding system where safe, enjoyable and fulfilling to the users. These aspects where tested through interviews and prototype tests such as the one seen above where the kit was taken to Curiosity Live in the Glasgow Science Centre an event attended by 500 school children where it received positive feedback and enthusiastic engagement from students and teachers.

TRI Seating in situ

Exploded view showing individual belt pulley mechanism

Seating design showing advertising opportunities inspired from tri-vision billboards

User interaction to rotate the bars and reveal a dry surface

FORESIGHT: Augmented Reality for Firefighters


FORESIGHT: Augmented Reality for Firefighters

A 10 page summary detailing the development, and the final overview, of the FORESIGHT system.

The Shroom Shelter

Design Features

Installing the Shroom Shelter

Sapling Growth within the Shroom Shelter

Mycelium Prototype

Sound & Colour Synthesiser; Product Overview

Sound & Colour is an audio & visual synthesis device with powerful musical learning and jamming potential. Unlike many commercially available “learner” instruments, Sound & Colour takes an alternative approach to learning music, focusing on allowing the user access to the mathematical concepts and relationships which dictate musicality without having to understand them! It uses an intuitive “harmonic table” layout to provide the user an ergonomic and accessible musical map. This layout places useful musical intervals close together and reduces chord memorisation, meaning all the triads (the backbone of western music) can be played with just two different fingers each with just one finger. It also features a helpful colour changing LED display dispersed across the keyboard. This display helps the user to familiarize themselves with the tonal layout and to navigate the keyboard, instantly locating recognizable intervals through colour recognition. Finally the Sound & Colour features a simple yet powerful sample based synthesis engine. This allows the user to select different sounds and modify them to their taste, without getting bogged down in deep parameter manipulation. It features 8 note polyphony that allows the structure of rich chords and deep melodies and harmonies.

Harmonic Table Layout

One of the key concepts in the design of Sound & Colour and a big part of its intuitive nature is the harmonic table layout which forms its keyboard. This layout is nothing new, dating back to 1739. I discovered this layout early in my research and it has endured the design process. The harmonic table adds ergonomic, functional and user interface benefits due to its geometric symmetry. It clusters important intervals together for easy play and allows playing of chords with a single finger. I found it to be perfect for the vision I had for Sound & Colour. The other major contributing factor is the colour changing RBG LED display. This is designed to guide users around the layout and allow them to navigate in a very musical way (based on interval to colour relationships) for example the user can memorise chords and melodies as combinations of colours as opposed to note location or name.

Prototype Development

Displayed here are some of the physical prototypes I used throughout the development of this project. The prototyping process helped me refine the design through user testing and allowing me to get a physical hands on reperesentation of my design iterations. The LED and MIDI prototypes where particularly useful as they allowed me to visualise and demonstrate the concepts of the design.

Aesthetic Development Through CAD Renders

These renders represent the aesthetic development of Sound & Colour, as well as the development of its interface.

Video Prototype 1 - Fifths

This video demonstrates the harmonic table - travelling vertically increases pitch by an interval of a fifth.

The Eternal Opening

The Eternal Opening is the first furniture range that I have created – comprised of coffee table, side table and floor lamp – which will be offered as a limited edition of 8 pieces + 2 AP via my personal website. Each item is fully hand-made by myself. The tables are crafted from a reinforced Jesmonite laminate and the lamp shade from pigmented fibreglass.

Price: £ Available on request

This item is for sale, please contact for more information.

Eternal Opening Coffee Table

Hand sculpted from reinforced jesmonite and finished with synthetic enamel paint in a deep brown. This piece measures 160x110x40cm and weighs roughly 50kg. This is a limited edition of 8 + 2 AP.

Price: £ Available on request

This item is for sale, please contact for more information.

Eternal Opening Coffee Table

Eternal Opening Coffee Table (Detail)

Eternal Opening Side Table

Hand sculpted from reinforced jesmonite and finished with synthetic enamel paint in a deep brown. This piece measures 80x80x47.5cm and weighs roughly 19kg. This is a limited edition of 8 + 2 AP.

Price: £ Available on request

This item is for sale, please contact for more information.

Eternal Opening Side Table

Eternal Opening Side Table (Detail)

Eternal Opening Floor Lamp

Hand sculpted from reinforced jesmonite and finished with synthetic enamel paint in a deep brown. The lamp shade is produced from a lightly pigmented fibreglass laminate and can be removed from the body when necessary. This piece measures 45x45x160cm and weighs roughly 21kg. This is a limited edition of 8 + 2 AP.

Price: £ Available on request

This item is for sale, please contact for more information.

Eternal Opening Floor Lamp

Eternal Opening Floor Lamp (Detail)

VENTRAL in use while cycling

VENTRAL facilitates the improvement of breathing pattern retraining during sport for increased cycling and rowing performance. Many cyclists and rowers do not breathe optimally during sport. By taking longer, deeper breaths the athlete’s performance can improve, however this can be hard to implement due to other skills in these sports requiring more focus and attention. VENTRAL gathers data from cadence sensors and delivers the athlete with a real time mindful breathing alert through vibrations to the chest. 
 The athlete synchronises their breathing to this vibration rhythm and performs better, with the potential to improve their power output by up to 3.2%.


Rooftop tents have almost certainly changed the way that we camp, and the benefits of sleeping on top of your car are clear. However, when it comes to the design of what is currently on the market, most are expensive, heavy, and over engineered.

With the camping industry set to grow at an increased rate over the next five years, and with millennials predicted to make up a large proportion of this growth, the opportunity for a lower cost, simpler alternative, that can be easily stored within smaller living spaces, is clear.

Nook is a rooftop tent for nomadic, adventurous people, that can be attached to the roof of any car. By means of a simple, reductive design, using low-cost and lightweight materials, the modular structure can be fully dismantled to occupy a much smaller footprint when not in use.

Presentation Poster

User Context

Diagnostic Imaging

User Interface

Patient Interface

Storage Unit

Exploded View of Components

Hero Shot

Sectional View of Internal Components


Perfectly textured milk at home, without the effort. AutoSteam achieves this with its preset wand positions that are designed to inject steam at the perfect position to create a vortex in the jug. This is essential in producing perfectly textured milk, with silky smooth microfoam, every time. The steaming time is controlled by a thermometer built-in the drip tray, so all the user needs to do is fill their chosen jug with milk to the indicated level and move the wand into one of the preset positions.

A Product to Predict and Prevent Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

Poster outlining key design features in the context of the user.

A Product to Predict and Prevent Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

A video showing the user journey and interactions.

A Product to Predict and Prevent Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

A summary of iterative prototyping with real users.

A Product to Predict and Prevent Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

Details of product components.

A Product to Predict and Prevent Freezing of Gait in Parkinson's Disease

Summary of the inner workings and electronics required to make the product work.


The lamp offers three light settings - Task Mode, Auto Mode, and S.A.D Mode.

Product Overview

A breakdown of the critical components, functions and interactions of the product.

User Journey

A guide to the user interactions with the product.

WorkLed S.A.D Mode

Morning before 11AM. In the vertical position, S.A.D. lighting is automatically timed for 30 minute exposure, providing proactive light therapy. Alertness, performance, mood and sleep quality are improved.

WorkLed Task Mode

The adjustable arm provides illumination for desk-based activity over the working area.

Touch Interaction

Whilst the light is in the vertical position, the user can choose between on/off, Auto Mode and S.A.D. Mode by simple touch interaction. Auto Mode provides ambient smart lighting by varying depending on the surrounding light levels.

The flexIV device in situ

A CAD representation of the flexIV device in situ in the dorsal site

The accordion bend feature in flexIV

A CAD representation of the accordion bend featured in the flexIV

The silicone adhesive butterfly wings featuring in flexIV

A CAD representation of the accordion bend featured in the flexIV

A flexIV prototype in action

A still from the prototype in action presenting the advantages of the flexIV deviceA still from the prototype in action presenting the advantages of the flexIV device including the accordion bend and the silicone adhesive butterfly wings.

Prototype in Action pt.1

Prototype exhibiting the stability of the flexIV device

Prototype in Action pt.2

Prototype exhibiting the flexibility of the flexIV device

flexIV Poster

A poster of the flexIV device explaining its key features and user journey

User Journey of the flexIV device

An in depth description of the administration of the flexIV device


The Problem

Concept Development


Product Overview

How It Works

How It Works

Product Poster

Poster detailing the main features of the EasyShave product.


A portable solar powered battery.

Project Poster

Final year PDE project

Final Prototype

Completed, functional prototype of the slope inclinometer and compass.

Avalanche Equipment

The Final prototype alongside other essential avalanche safety equipment.

User Testing

Testing of the prototype was carried out at Nevis Range by multiple potential users.

Promotional Poster

An A0 poster exhibiting the product in its environment of use and functionality

Short Video Prototype

A video showing how and where the product is used

Overview of Communicate

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong condition, which affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, as well as how they experience the world around them. Meltdown and shutdown are intense emotional response to “triggers”, which could lead to long-term mental health. Communicare aims to provide an effective meltdown and shutdown prevention system for autistic children through modular 3-lead ECG monitoring and stress analysis. It connects the ECG wearables to the caregivers’ devices, allowing them to detect the upcoming meltdown and shutdown, in order to provide the right support at the right time.

Why 3-lead ECG?

Communicare consists of 3 ECG modules, worn on both right and left wrists, and the right hip. These ECG modules communicate through Bluetooth connection, forming a 3-lead ECG setup. This setup is used, because it increases the overall accuracy of the product. It enables in-depth cardiac analysis, since ECG features such as HRV and ectopic beat are linked to the autonomous nervous system, which is triggered by the flight or fight response. In other words, stress can affect our ECG activity.

Communicate App

The ECG modules then send the ECG data to the Communicare application, which comes in both desktop and mobile forms. The application allows the caregivers (mainly teachers and parents) to monitor the child’s current stress level. On the wristband itself, the LEDs are shown, acting as a visual cue for the passer-by (who does not have the Communicare app). Overall, the product enables the detection of upcoming meltdown and shutdown of an autistic child.

The straps

The silicone straps are interchangeable, so that the user can choose different strap designs to their liking. It is secured through the watch strap pin, which is shaped like a puzzle piece to symbolise and empower autism. –This aspect is based on the interviews conducted with the user group.

Can be flatpacked for efficient return for re-use purposes

Fully reversible for the return of unwanted items

UpCycle Poster

Descriptive Poster

Reduced Perspective View

Perspective View

Aerial View

Side View

Proposed Location

UpCyle Rapid Prototype

Totem Pole Bike Rack

Totem Pole Prototype



Parts and Assembly

User cycle

post_fossil_toolkit informational poster

Generation_tools harvest, produce and store sustainable energy on-site, energy is stored in the base_unit of each generation_tool and fed out to the required output point in the community space. Data from the base_unit is received and processed by the post_fossil_network. Position, kWh counter and Unit type are uploaded to the post_fossil_network_map. Users access cyber network to share, learn and develop post_fossil solutions as well as building a wider post_fossil community.

solar_uints and wind_units in urban context

Multiple different generation_tools can be implemented on one site. By analysing specific sites using the online location analysis tools, accessible via the post_fossil_network, an optimised tool_kit selection can be made. Tools can then be manufactured, utilising local manufacturers and workshops where possible, and distributed to end users. Once on-site the distribution team help install base_units. The users are then left to construct and monitor their post_fossil_tools.

post_fossil_tools in urban community space context

Inconsistency of environmental conditions across both time and location means that an effective, and democratic solution must be flexible and adaptable to specific locations. The post_fossil _toolkit promotes independence from expensive, time and energy consuming rigid infrastructure: Infrastructure without the economic and carbon cost. Generation_units feed electricity into the community space allowing it to function without necessarily engaging in the current fossil_based, capital driven energy systems.

base_unit detailing

The base_unit acts as the fundamental building block, on top of which the required generation_tools are constructed. Each base unit contains a sub-system of internal components: live Current monitoring and transmission hub, combiner box, charge controller, tesla power wall rechargeable storage unit, signal convertor, and an standard output point.

base_unit exploded view animation

In order to work within the post_fossil_production_labs theoretical framework, democratic design should be implemented at every stage of the production and usage process. This means deconstruct-ability and modularity have been used to define the design of the units. Where possible standard fixings are used to fasten the components together, allowing the product to be fully disassembled into its constituent parts for ease of maintenance and recyclability.

solar_unit detailing

Solar glass panels are used along with panel connectors to form a modular solar_structure. Each connector creates a 40 degree change in orientation from one panel to the next, allowing the solar_unit to be constructed to form a vast number of different geometries. Allowing the user to optimise solar efficiency according to location and season. Soft microbial fuel cell pots harness micro-bacterial metabolic life-cycles to generate power which is directed through the solar_structure and into the base unit for storage.

wind_unit detailing

Currently under development, vortex bladeless technology occupies the cutting edge of experimental wind turbine design. By applying this technology in the post_fossil context, users will be able to harness the low level wind almost always present in the urban environment. Through localising production_technologies, such as wind turbines which are traditionally located far away from the urban environment, the means of production can be brought in almost direct contact with its produce. This in turn acts to reduce the alienated state of the user when engaging with the system.


In order to create a fully_transparent_production chain material sources can be mapped. The same can be done for where the material is processed and where it ends up. By logging the location of material sources as well as manufacturing locations, an accurate CO2 embodied energy calculation can be made for each product. Transportation routes can be easily traced and therefore transport emissions easily calculated. As well as Gps location data, each base_unit will transmit how much power is being generated at each location. This will be processed, mapped and logged through the online network branch of the post_fossil_toolkit: the post_fossil_gateway, accessible via . By analysing this data, users will be able to optimise their tools across the city. In this way the wider post_fossil_system mimics micro-bacterial metabolic life-cycles and the city is transformed into a self sustaining macro-organism, powered from within itself, continuously evolving and adapting to environmental conditions.

systematic overview of the post_fossil_system and base_unit setup

GrubClub- Encouraging the consumption of insects in future generations

Presentation poster