What have you been doing since you graduated from Brunel?
My plan was to finish my final major project, graduate and start looking for industrial design jobs and that’s exactly what I did at the start - I started doing an internship at company in Shoreditch. In my second week there, I found out that my concept of a biologically accurate food spoilage indicator aimed at visually impaired people won the UK James Dyson Award and suddenly my work was all over the press and I was being broadcast live on the BCC. It was surreal. It was when major food companies and supermarkets started getting in touch with me that I realised that I had to try to take this idea to market. So for the past 3 years I’ve been running my company, Mimica, and learning an enormous amount while doing it.
What are the main skills/attributes you learnt at university which has helped you in the working world?
The fact that we got to do so many ‘mini projects’ on such a broad range of topics ranging from electronics to fashion to coding, means that I am better able to collaborate with many different people to bring projects to life. It’s far more productive to have the vocabulary and basic understanding of a subject when speaking to a coder about writing software for the product you’re designing, for example.
How did you start your project that you’re working on with CRL?
(My company is no longer based at the Central Research Laboratory - we just did their 12 month accelerator programme which Mimica has now graduated) The Mimica Touch expiry label was born from my final major project on my Industrial Design Course which aimed to improve accessibility to food expiry information for people with visual impairments. From hours of interviews with blind people, I discovered that the lack of access to this simple information was causing blind people to choose unhealthy frozen and processed food options, due to their longer shelf life. However, this risk-aversive behaviour is an unsurprising cause for many visually impaired people being overweight and living with diabetes. The original project sought to create a greater feeling of independence and confidence to enjoy cooking without risk of compromising food safety, but when I was able to create a solution that showed an accurate indication of food spoilage, I realised that there was a much wider market application, as this is information that not even sighted people have access to.
How do you see your project progressing and what are your plans for the future?
After a lot of research and development in the lab, our first product, Mimica Touch will be launching in 2018! I plan to keep running Mimica until it is financially stable and then set my sights on a new sustainability challenge. I think I might have ruined my desire for working for somebody else though.
How would you describe the opportunities that are available at Brunel for students?
It’s fantastic having such a strong link with industry at Brunel. This means plenty of real briefs from big companies and also a supportive placements and careers centre with the top picks of placements for your year in industry. There are many top companies that will only advertise placement positions at Brunel.