Melbourne, Australia — Two enterprising university students are vying for a major award with their design for a plastic wheelbarrow that doubles as a boat and a vendor cart.
Lachlan Meadows and Hugh McKay, both aged 23, developed the utility barrow as part of their final-year studies in product design engineering at Melbourne's Swinburne University.
They were given a brief to develop a product to help people living in flood-prone Kampung Melayu, a village on the edge of Ciliwung River, in Indonesia, which floods three or four times a year.
Meadows told Plastics News that the pair, who have been friends throughout their five-year university course, thought the rotationally molded polypropylene wheelbarrow would be useful for villagers to clean up their mud-filled homes after floods.
They selected PP as the resin to give the product strength and because it could not be punctured easily. Meadows and McKay added rings to the side of the barrow so villagers can slip poles into them to use the barrows as vendor carts to sell produce, which is their major income source.
They also ensured the barrow can float, so villagers can use it for safe transport during floods.