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25 October 2012 | PR 12/182

International design award shortlists Loughborough graduate

Sewing machine - Dyson Award

Loughborough University graduate, Sarah Dickens, has been shortlisted for a prestigious international design award.

Following an intensive judging process, Sarah’s innovative redesign of the traditional sewing machine has been selected as one of 15 contenders for the James Dyson Award 2012.

The international design award runs in 18 countries.  It is led by the James Dyson Foundation, James Dyson's charitable trust, as part of its mission to encourage the next generation of design engineers to challenge, invent and be creative.

Sarah’s entry, known as Alto, removes problems found in older designs of sewing machines, which make it more user-friendly.  The new prototype tackles issues such as the ease of threading the machine, how to co-ordinate the speed of sewing and the space available around the machine to manoeuvre material.

A recent graduate from the Loughborough Design School, Sarah recently exhibited Alto at the School’s annual Degree Show as well as the UK Graduate New Designers Exhibition at the Business Design Centre in Islington.

Karl Hurn from the University Design School and Sarah’s dissertation supervisor said:

“Sarah’s holistic approach to the design and development of her sewing machine not only focussed on the innovations in user experience she could provide to her target users, but also technical and mechanical innovations that could improve its operation and manufacture. These are the hallmarks of a Loughborough Design School final year student project”

The winner of the award will be announced in November.


For all media enquiries contact:

Hannah Bateson
Public Relations Office
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228658
E: H.R.Bateson@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1. A full description of Sarah’s entry can be found at:

2. 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 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the Best Student Experience in England every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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This page was last updated on Thursday October 25, 2012 11:26