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Showcase 2023 Student Spotlight: Charles Sissons

Student Spotlight featuring BSc (Hons) Product Design student, Charles Sissons and his project, Harmonic Sensory Glove.

Render of a set of musical gloves for children

The project

Harmonic is a sensory musical glove designed to assist in the development of young children’s fine motor skills, specifically targeting those aged 4-7. The glove aims to develop finger strength and dexterity in a playful yet engaging way. Each finger pad represents a note on the C major diatonic scale, allowing children to learn and play simple songs and nursery rhymes in the classroom or at home. Song sheets are provided that become increasingly challenging to ensure continued development and engagement.

The glove’s versatile design is suitable for use in both the home and classroom settings, with adult and child sizes available for collaborative learning. Overall, Harmonic aims to address the growing concern of children’s fine motor skill development in primary education.

Render of a set of musical gloves for children

The inspiration behind the project

Inspiration for the Harmonic Glove first came to Charles after a conversation he had with one of his old school teachers. Whilst discussing their experiences of the recent pandemic, she told him about the fact that she, and many of her colleagues, were noticing that their infant aged pupils were struggling with basic tasks due to their lack of strength and dexterity in their fingers. Pupils were finding simple tasks such as manipulating plasticine, holding a pencil, buttoning a shirt etc difficult. The teacher told Charles that, whilst this is not uncommon in some pupils, that since the pandemic and lockdown a much greater number of students were experiencing fine-motor-skills issues.

Working on this project was an incredibly challenging yet rewarding experience. During its development, I overcame numerous obstacles and learned a great deal about electronics, coding, mold manufacturing and textiles. Despite limited workshop experience and time constraints, I managed to create a fully functioning musical glove. Throughout this journey, I received invaluable support from experts and mentors, which contributed to the project's success. The entire process was highly iterative and reactive, making me feel like a true Product Designer. Although there's still room for improvement, the overwhelmingly positive feedback reaffirms that the hard work has paid off, and the potential for further development is immense.
Render of the packaging of the new musical gloves

Being part of NTU

Charles's time at NTU has been a transformative journey, marked by a significant move to a new country. Starting with minimal skills in sketching and 3D modelling, he's now developed expertise in various areas like Adobe Suite, electronics, manufacturing, and rendering. Unfortunately, COVID-19 affected 2 of his 3 years, making it a bumpy ride, but he persevered and grew tremendously through these challenges.

His most memorable moment at NTU was probably when he had to perform "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" using my prototype during the major project presentation. It was an amusing challenge to keep a straight face while playing the song in front of his assessors.

Closing remarks

If you're considering studying Product Design at NTU, be prepared for hard work and dedication. There will be moments when progress seems slow, and you might have to sacrifice social outings to achieve your goals. There will be challenges, but if you persevere and put in the effort when it matters most, the rewards are immense. Upon completion, you'll feel like you can conquer anything and will be well-equipped to face the real world with confidence. Stay committed, and you'll unlock your full potential. However, you will make many new friends and have a great deal of fun along the way.

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