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Efficiency for Access Design Challenge Prototypes

Prototype Funding

The Efficiency for Access Design Challenge, through funding provided by the IKEA Foundation, held two prototype funding applications windows for the participants of year 2021-2022 of the Challenge.

Why create a prototype?

A prototype is a simple, experimental model of a proposed solution used to test or validate ideas, design assumptions, and other aspects of its conceptualisation quickly and cheaply. Prototypes are not limited to functioning models. Examples of the many forms that prototypes can take include simple sketches or storyboards used to illustrate a proposed experiential solution or paper or digital model.

Prototyping need not be full products: you can prototype a small part of your full solution (the digital interface of an electric cooker for example) to test that specific aspect or component. Developing and testing a prototyping will allow students to bring their ideas to life and test some of the assumptions that students used when going through the designing process. It will also be a great tool in helping students to demonstrate their concept to the judges and the audience at the Grand Final in June.

Previous Participants' Prototypes


In October 2022 some of the prototypes from 2021-2022 participants showcased at an exhibition as part of the 10th annual Engineering Design Show. The Engineering Design Show in Coventry is the UK’s biggest event dedicated entirely to engineering, electronics and embedded design. The show sees 4,500 design engineers walk through the doors every year to see the 200+ exhibitors at the forefront of the industry.

EDS Logo

Of the 22 teams that decided to build prototypes in 2022, eight chose to exhibit at the Engineering Design Show. All of our exhibitors were based outside of the UK and were unable to make the long journey to attend in person. Instead, students took videos and prepared videos that were then converted into posters that covered the booth's walls. Those posters can be seen below.

To read more about the students' show at the Engineering Design Show, and see some of photos from the show floor check out our blog post on medium!


In the 2020-2021 year of the Challenge, students exhibited their prototypes online through Dutch Design Week. Take a look at Efficiency for Access’ virtual space here to see some of last year’s prototypes: electric cooker, fresh fish cooler storage, grain dryer, hydroponic system, milk pasteurizer, vaccine refrigerator, water purification.

Not all students have exhibited their prototypes in our showcase opportunities. We are still very proud of all the prototypes students have been able to build through the Challenge. Prototypes have have included simple sketches, cardboard models, physical or digital prototypes.

Watch below a short video for a quick overview of the prototyping opportunity.