Latest news from Loughborough University
21 Mar 2014
Loughborough graduate makes losing a thing of the past
Award-winning Loughborough University graduate Simon Lyons is on the verge of launching an innovative product guaranteed to help us all get organised.
When he graduated in 2013 – with a First Class degree in Product Design Engineering – Simon launched design company Version 22.
Since then, he has been developing a number of products, including Geco Hub which he describes as a wall-mounted grab-and-go storage unit for the home and office.
“Geco Hub is the ideal home for important things – like keys, wallets and phones – which are never really stored away because we need them handy. But we all know it’s easy to lose them in a limbo of clutter on coffee tables, countertops, desks and windowsills.”
The unique unit is a matrix of flexible components which dynamically adapt to hold objects of different shapes and sizes. These flexible components are removable and interchangeable, so Geco Hub can be customised on a whim to suit the user’s requirements.
“I wanted to design a product that could be regularly reconfigured in just a few minutes without tools,” Simon explains. “Geco Hub evolves as your environment, tastes and needs change.”
Simon originally started work on Geco Hub as part of his third year project, and has since tested dozens of iterations to get it right. The hard work has paid off.
Since its inception, his novel idea has won a number of accolades including success in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Innovation Hothouse Competition as well as the University’s Think BIG! Business Plan Competition. In 2011, Simon also secured a James Dyson Foundation Bursary to support Geco Hub’s development.
However, turning a concept into a commercial reality is an expensive business. So, Simon is launching a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise the rest of the funds he needs to get Geco Hub into shops.
“Exciting as Geco Hub might sound, without a Kickstarter success it could take years to get onto shelves. I’m hoping to raise £35,000 in 35 days to make Geco Hub a reality.”
Keen not to rely on the success of Geco Hub, Simon – now a member of the University’s Graduate Commercialisation Studio – is also developing an easy packaging opener.
Nimble is specifically designed for people with arthritis or similar conditions to help them access awkward packages and cartons – safely and independently. The design was a 2013 Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award Winner.
As well as producing helpful household products, Simon is committed to supporting local businesses as a way to promote home-grown manufacturing talent.
Studio Manager, Megan Powell Vreeswijk, says: “Simon is a talented member of the Studio whose hard work and dedication are unstinting. I wish him every success with his KickStarter campaign – and hope that Version 22 will soon be a household name.”
To find out more about Geco Hub, please visit the Version 22 website.
Notes for editors
Article reference number: PR 14/58
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year title in 2008-09 and has been named Sports University of the Year 2013-14 by The Times and Sunday Times. Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and has been voted England's Best Student Experience for six years running in the Times Higher Education league. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In 2015 the University will open an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University in London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, will offer postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.
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