ONE of the country’s top wheelchair basketball stars is to judge an Innovative Design Competition which aims to find the best new innovations to help people with disabilities.
Robyn Love, from Ayr, represented the British team at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and currently plays for club side Lothian Phoenix in Armadale, West Lothian.
She will sit with a panel of experts to judge the annual Blackwood Design Awards (BDA), which invite budding designers, engineers and inventors to submit their creations to help disabled people live life to the full.
The fate of the shortlisted designs will lie in the hands of eight judges, with entrants asked to perform a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to them before a winner is selected.
As well as Robyn, a host of well-known industry names including; Ryan MacDonald, Ambassador Network Manager at Euan’s Guide, and Toby Mildon, a BBC Ouch blogger, will run the rule on entrants.
Other judges include, Gavin Neate, CEO of Neatebox, an app which helps companies ensure five star service is given to any person with a disability; Professor Lorne Crerar, Chairman of Harper Macleod LLP and Richard Neville, Editor in Chief of Morning Newspapers at DCT Media.
Blackwood board member Anne Walker will also sit on the judging panel along with Blackwood member, Fiona Thwaites.
“I am very excited to be part of the Blackwood Design Awards. Blackwood were the sponsor of Lothian Phoenix when I first found wheelchair basketball so it’s quite surreal being part of their judging panel only three years later.”
Both experienced professionals and gifted amateurs can enter the Awards, meaning that both technologically advanced and those simpler, yet often most successful designs, are equally welcome.
The Awards can also represent a great opportunity for design students to get their first big break while still at university.
Past entries include a design for a wheelchair that allows users to control its direction with their eyes, as well as the ‘S’up Spoon’, which enables people with shaky hands to eat more easily.
Max Brown, Chair of Blackwood Board, said:
“We’re delighted to have Robyn on this year’s judging panel and believe her expertise will help choose a worthy winner. he Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the amazing ideas people have to help those with disabilities and each year we’re amazed by the quality and broad spectrum of designs received. It’s so rewarding to work in an industry where so many people are striving to help others. There’s no design too simplistic or too extravagant, the Awards are open to all and I’m excited to see what the judges choose as this year’s winner.”
There are four categories up for grabs at this year’s Awards; Best Collaborative Project by a University or Institute of Higher Learning, Best New Concept, Best New Accessible Technology and Best New Aids and Equipment.
The competition has a terrific reputation for enabling its winners to go onto great success, with entrants from all over the world, including Canada and Pakistan.
Entries should be submitted no later than 12 noon on Friday, March 30, and entrants will be notified that their submission has been received. Contact Paul Richoux for full details on how to enter – PaulR@blackwoodgroup.org.uk.
Winners are chosen on what has the biggest impact on people’s independence, not what uses the most technology.