three proposed screenshots of how Relieve could appear on your phone

A team of five students from the University of Lincoln have won a national product design competition by designing an e-cigarette that helps people quit smoking.

The cigarette, named Relieve, would use Bluetooth to connect with the user’s smartphone, where an app would regulate the strength of the nicotine and show the user how far along they were in their program to quite smoking.

The app would also notify the user regularly of the financial and biological benefits that they would be experiencing at various points through the weeks and months.

three proposed screenshots of how Relieve could appear on your phone
An early design of how the app could look (Photo: Vodafone 24)

University of Lincoln students Robert Meehan, Alex Pell, Richard Kennedy, Sasha Tucker, and Jack Merritt – aka the “Lincoln Valentinos” – came up with the idea using knowledge from the four subjects they study between them (Advertising and Marketing, Product Design, Documentary Production, and Mechanical Engineering) in just one day.

“The idea itself came when I was staring out of group room window at a smoking area outside,” said team leader Robert Meehan. “Suddenly, I spoke out loud about the possibility of an e-cigarette which could regulate nicotine.

“Once we’d come up with it, it was one of those ideas that just made sense and you wonder why it doesn’t already exist,” he continued.

Their project won first place in the Vodafone 24 “createathon”, which challenges innovative students to imagine and design a product to the proof-of-concept stage within 24 hours – working overnight, from midday until the same time the next day.

“We were particularly impressed with the originality, depth of research and presentation of the concept. It met the brief perfectly and had that intangible ‘wow factor’ as well,” said Bryan Hill, Vodafone UK’s Technology Innovation Manager. “It was a great piece of work and won against some very stiff competition.”

The Valentinos came second to a team from the University of Bath, who designed Cellvation, a smartphone game where players look at anonymous microscope images to diagnose diseases.

The Lincoln men, however, will be walking away with a prize reserved especially for first place – an iPad and an internship with Vodafone. Yet team leader Rob believes “the prizes on offer were secondary”, adding that “this opportunity makes sure young people can show what they are capable of when left to respond to a brief”.

You can read the Lincoln Valentino’s full proposal by clicking here (pdf).

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