A FOUNTAINDALE School pupil put university students through their paces when they were set the task of inventing a gadget to help make his life easier.
Over 140 engineering students from the University of Sheffield entered a competition to design a product that would help 11-year-old Kieron Norton, who has cerebral palsy, carry out an everyday task more independently.
Kieron, his mum Sharon and dad Andrew spoke to the students about what kind of activities he needs help with and they were also on the judging panel for the competition, along with his teacher Ruth Keward and business and industry experts.
Said Sharon: “He said he wanted help to do things that everyone else does without help.
“He is definitely Mr Independent and the students really took this on board.
“They asked him questions and even in front of 140 students he wasn’t afraid to say what he thought.”
The winning device was called the ‘Easy Mix’, which will help Kieron and other people suffering from neuromuscular disabilities to mix ingredients while baking or cooking.
It was inspired by Kieron’s love of making cakes with his grandma and will enable him to help out without making too much of a mess.
The design consists of a bowl with another bowl on top as a cover and a space for a spoon or other implement to fit through.
The second-placed device was an arched keyboard which had large coloured buttons and could be linked up with computer software to enable Kieron to play games, while in third place was a special interactive board game.
Mrs Keward said: “What was really impressive about Kieron was that he was so opinionated.
“If he agreed with the other judges he let them know he agreed and if he didn’t agree, he told them!”
This was the second ‘Making Kieron’s Life Easier’ competition - the first was held when Kieron was seven and the winning design then was a ‘scribbler’ which helped Kieron to draw.
University lecturer Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, who organised the competition, said: “Kieron’s a little star and I’m so happy we’ve been able to help him.
“The project has been an amazing way to engage the students and the talent they have shown is incredible.”