Ever heard of fearcasting? Y’know, that unbridled panic that sets in when you’ve either forgotten to lock the door, can’t sleep because you know you have a big day tomorrow, experience a phone-battery melt-down at an inopportune moment, or have left your bank card on the kitchen table? People in the UK suffer pretty heavily from from fearcasting, as train delays, traffic nightmares and even running out of toilet paper sends us into blind fits of worry on a daily basis. These everyday emergencies are undoubtedly the thorn in our collective side, so we were stoked to discover that the legendary Makerversity had teamed up with Direct Line and Goldsmith’s University to design and create legitimate remedies at a two-day event called Everyday Fix.
Hosted by Makerversity, a community of creatives who provide makers and businesses with affordable space, tools and cutting edge workshop facilities, as well as countless opportunities, at their Somerset House headquarters, Everyday Fix housed a collection of the UK’s best designers and innovators. The event also played host to the leading design minds of the future. We went along to Somerset House on a lovely sunny day to find out what the seven student teams were working on in response to a tough everyday emergencies brief set by Direct Line.
Just before 5pm on the final day of the challenge, the Makerversity studio space was buzzing. The teams were hard at work but were happy to share their exciting and innovative ideas with us. By the time we arrived, all teams had left the workshops and had created a communal work space in the main studio, we assume that there’s a level of solidarity in collective stress. 3tronics, a dedicated team of makers, were working hard on their parking app, which acts as a sort of Airbnb with added hardware for your vehicle’s spot of turf. While ONN Studio were working away on two concepts, the first to remedy the worrying situation many people find themselves in upon questioning whether or not they’ve locked the front door. The second, a set of headphones for cyclists with safety at their core.
All prototypes created at Direct Line’s Everyday Fix were to be judged by a panel of industry leaders, and the public, with the winning idea moving forward to be developed from prototype to actual product. A panel made up of John Shaw, Direct Line’s Head of R&D and Innovation, Beatrice Pembroke, the Director of Creative Economy at the British Council, Founder of Provenance Jessi Baker, Mark Champkins who is the Science Museum’s current Inventor in Residence, and Technologist, artist and co-founder of Makerversity Paul Smyth were poised and eager to asses each team’s creations.
Three prototypes were shortlisted and now await a public vote. They include the ingenious ONN Studio’s ‘Forget Me Lock’, a device that fastens to your key and indicates whether or not you’ve remembered to lock the front door. Team Impulse’s ‘Nipper’, the world’s smallest mobile phone charger, able to utilise any household battery as an energy source, and finally, ‘Snooze’, an alarm clock that connects with your phone, silencing notifications to ensure an undisturbed sleep, created by Instruments.The winning idea will be launched as a Kickstarter project later this summer so cross your fingers for your favourite fixer.
“We were astounded by the thought, innovation and expertise applied to each of the prototypes at Direct Line’s Everyday Fix and as such, deliberated long and hard over who to shortlist – it definitely wasn’t an easy decision. The final three went through to the next round because they were elegant, clear and memorable fixes, and products we’d all want to go out and buy today.” – Paul Smyth, co-founder of Makerversity
It was a fantastic experience to witness each of the teams putting their skills to the test in the studio, and working together to invariably make the world a better and decidedly less stressful place for us all. Makerversity pride themselves on advocating and pooling the talent and resources that will lead the next industrial revolution, so as a veritable hub of great design-thinking, their partnership with top insurers Direct Line, and Goldsmiths’ students certainly delivered on brilliant ideas and admirable everyday fixes.
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Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth