Student design challenge launched to inspire engineering innovation

Electrocomponents has launched a student design challenge in partnership with The Washing Machine Project, a social enterprise dedicated to designing, developing, and distributing low-cost, water-saving, manual washing machines to provide displaced and low-income people with an accessible, off-grid alternative to handwashing clothes. Research conducted by The Washing Machine Project with 1,500 families in 12 countries shows that 99% of the people conducting this task are women and girls as young as seven years old.

Hosted on the DesignSpark engineering platform, the People.Planet.Product challenge is an opportunity for students to apply innovative thinking and practical skills to the ongoing development of The Washing Machine Project’s first manual crank-handle machine, the Divya, and help make a positive difference to people’s lives around the world.

Entrants are required to submit a 1000-word account of their idea, explaining how it solves the real-world problem they have chosen, supported by a one-minute video or audio summary. Originality and feasibility of the solution will be key considerations.

Finalists will go forward to present their solutions to a panel of distinguished judges at a live virtual final. To support the finalists, and to bring their ideas to life, Electrocomponents is offering a £250 basket of products stocked by RS Components, as well as coaching support from a product design engineer and a graphic designer, a presentation masterclass, plus free add-on modules for the company’s DesignSpark Mechanical design software.

Three winners will be selected at the live final and receive £1000 in RS products or a cash equivalent to support their prototype development, plus access to a business mentor and a knowledge session with The Washing Machine Project founder, Navjot Sawhney.

Isabella Mascarenhas, vice president for grass roots education at Electrocomponents, said: “This latest initiative with The Washing Machine Project, our chosen social enterprise partner, is a fantastic opportunity for students to innovate and practise their skills in a project that will have a life-changing, empowering impact on the lives of thousands of women and children in global communities.”

To be eligible for entry to the People.Product.Planet design challenge, all applicants must be aged 18 or over and be studying a full- or part-time course. For more details, please visit:

RS Components Ltd

Birchington Road
NN17 9RS

01865 207546

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