Ilford student awarded £15k to develop affordable self-stabilising spoon for people with hand tremors
PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 September 2019
A university student from Ilford who designed a self-stabilising spoon inspired by his family friend who has a severe hand tremor is this week's Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen nominee.
When he was seven, Hemal Dias, who is studying mechanical engineering at Warwick University, visited his family friend Ben to show him a piece of schoolwork and remembers him holding his book and his hand shaking so much.
"Growing up, I saw him struggle with virtually all day-to-day tasks so asked him how I could help," Hemal, 21, said. "He wanted an aid to eat comfortably without spilling food everywhere.
"I researched specialised spoons for people with hand tremors and was shocked to see that effective products cost over £150."
Hemal promised to find a solution for Ben and fulfilled his promise in his third-year engineering project.
He has created a self-stabilising spoon that cancels out the user's tremors - and it's a fraction of the cost of current models on the market.
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"Having just started studying engineering at Warwick, I thought I could design something far cheaper," Hemal said.
"I made this my third year project and then was recommended by my project supervisor to apply for the Design Council Spark award.
"I'm currently one of the ten finalists, meaning I have received £15,000 funding and a range of mentoring sessions. The product is still in development but I hope to sell it for around £40."
The Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough, run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club.
A monthly winner will be chosen from the nominees, the finalists will be invited to the Mayor's Community Awards night in March and the overall winner will be announced.
The winner will receive £100 from Redbridge Rotary Club and will, along with the runner-up, go through to the national Young Citizens final run by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
You can nominate any person from Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.