Design Innovation in Plastics 2023 winner announced


Student from Dublin creates new flossing device for teeth cleaning 

Congratulations go to Christopher Kenny, a student from Technological University Dublin, who has won this year’s Design innovation in Plastics (DIP) competition, which is headline sponsored by Covestro. 

DIP, also supported by The Worshipful Company of Horners, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), is the longest running plastics design competition of its kind for university undergraduates in the UK and Ireland. This year’s contestants were asked to design a product for the kitchen or bathroom. 

A third year product design undergraduate, Chris takes away the first prize of £1,000, plus a placement or course with a DIP sponsor, a year’s membership of IOM3 and an invitation to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet as a guest of the Worshipful Company of Horners. 

Chris’ winning product is ‘Flossie’, a teeth cleaning device which allows people with hand deterity conditions to floss their teeth more easily. It utilises flossing sticks and a specially designed gripping handle. He used a combination of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), polyurethane and polypropylene for the different components of his product. 

Chairman of the judging panel, Richard Brown, said: "This is a great product which is inspired by a real life challenge. We were impressed not just by the clever design, but by the user testing carried out by Chris, to show how it can help people with lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination. He also gave us a detailed analysis of manufacturing ideas and costs, as well as considering its marketing." 

Chris said the inspiration for his product came from wanting to help his brother, who has cerebral palsy in his right hand and said he was very proud that other people also liked his idea. "It is a real honour to be recognised in this competition," he said. "I definitely want to work with materials and mechanisms in the future, as designing for usability really excites me." 

The judges awarded second place to Kyle Farquhar, Edinburgh Napier University, with his product ‘PlateMate’, a foldable plate which shows children how to create a variety of Mexican and other international dishes in a more fun way. In third place came Scott Rutherford, also from Edinburgh Napier, with his ‘Rotary Bottle Opener’, which helps people with hand weaknesses to open twist top bottles more easily. 

Highly Commended Awards go to:

  • Freddy Blake, Bournemouth University, with ‘Bubble Buddy‘, a bathroom soap dispenser and hand wash device in one package, which makes hand washing more fun for children. 
  • Teresa Zheng, Loughborough University, with ‘Sianel‘, a portable shelf which enables people to change their colostomy bags more easily.

A sixth student, James Forrest-Smith, has received the inaugural Robin Jones Award. Robin was a key member of the DIP committee who sadly died last year. A tutor at London South Bank University, he always passionately shared his presentation expertise to the finalists to help them showcase their products in the best possible way. This award therefore recognises both the skill in achieving this as well as the quality of the design. 

James, from Northumbria University, created ‘STEPA‘ a fully adjustable stool for children to use in the kitchen, encouraging them to get involved in kitchen activities. 

All this year’s award candidates receive cash prizes along with placements or industrial courses and a year’s membership of IOM3. 

DIP is also supported by work placement sponnsors, Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and Sumitomo Demag, along with media partners, British Plastics & Rubber, Mould Technology and Materials World. 


About the Design Innovation in Plastics Award: 
Established in 1985, Design Innovation in Plastics is the longest running student plastics design award in the UK and Ireland. For more information visit: www.designinnovationplastics.org 

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) is a major UK engineering institution and is the professional body for the advancement of materials, minerals and mining to governments, industry, academia, the public and the professions. For more information visit www.iom3.org 

The Worshipful Company of Horners is one of the oldest livery companies in the City of London, formed to regulate the horn-working trade. In 1943 it adopted its modern equivalent, the plastics industry. For more information visit www.horners.org.uk

About Covestro:

Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.

The company is committed to becoming fully circular and is striving to become climate neutral by 2035 (scope 1 and 2). Covestro generated sales of EUR 18 billion in fiscal 2022. At the end of 2022, the company had 50 production sites worldwide and employed approximately 18,000 people (calculated as full-time equivalents).

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This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available at www.covestro.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.