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Birmingham student reinvents road crossing to win Saint-Gobain PAM product design competition.

07/04/2016
Birmingham City University student Ziqiao Wang has redesigned the road crossing to combine a kerbside drainage solution with an interactive projection to improve safety for both pedestrians and traffic in a design competition sponsored by Ilkeston based Saint-Gobain PAM.
 
The design competition formed part of a Product Design Masters degree at the University and challenged students to redesign the form and function of drainage and access covers in the road, pavement and kerb.
 
Calling his new design the Magic Crossing, Ziqiao Wang, responded to the brief with a product concept that is multifunctional, aesthetic and fun.
 
Competition concept
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Comments Wang on winning the design: "I wanted to take what many people think of as a functional and possibly dull product and make it more fun, interactive and even slightly playful. Importantly because the concept interacts with both traffic and pedestrian density it can better manage road crossing according to demand.
 
"It is a problem being faced daily by our overpopulated cities. The idea of the Magic Crossing is to transform pedestrian safety and through the projection of circles onto the road to indicate that it is safe to cross also add a bit of fun and interest to our urban landscape."
 
Commenting on the collaboration with Birmingham City University, Mark Esling for Saint-Gobain PAM said: "We deliberately wanted to challenge conventional thinking about access covers and drainage products with this design competition. Our challenge is to consider our environment and how we can make a sustainable habitat for the future.
 
"All of the entries challenge conventional thinking and examine both the design and functionality of access covers and drainage products. The students have taken on this wider brief and considered the whole environment and how our products can interact beyond their basic functionality. 
 
"If we are to push forward product development and challenge the norm then we need to encourage such fresh thinking. The university is well known for product design and its MA courses attract some of the brightest minds in this area, so we couldn’t ask for a better partner. And who knows in future we may see the realisation of some of the concepts presented to us."
 
Says Nuno Lourinho, MA Product Design Course Director at Birmingham City University: "We have a strong tradition of working closely with industry partners. Our students really benefit from such collaboration as they can engage with and understand industry needs and working processes. It gives them a real advantage when they qualify and seek employment."
 
Other concepts presented as part of the competition included a combined drainage and bicycle security solution called Drain-Lock and an information and help point set in the ground called Chameleon.
 
Judges for the competition included representatives from Saint-Gobain PAM, a major supplier of access cover and drainage solutions to the highways and utility sector, Birmingham City University and United Utilities.
 
"I was really impressed with the overall quality of the products presented by the students and could even see some of them evolving to become a marketable product", adds Sammy Nelson, Serviceability Programme Manager at United Utilities.
 
The winner Ziaqiao Wang was presented with a £1000 prize by Mark Esling from Saint-Gobain PAM.

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BCU winner
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BCU winner