NMiTE design cohort develops musical aid for seven-year-old pupil

Members of the cohort have used their creative and engineering skills to develop an aid to help Francesca learn to play the violin

A design cohort brought together to help develop the new tech university NMiTE, have designed a musical aid for a seven-year-old aspiring violinist.

The team is made up of 25 school-leavers and graduates from around the world, and is helping to develop and test everything from campus layout to course design, as well as marketing NMiTE’s engagement programme, and building partnerships with businesses. Members include both those with and without engineering backgrounds.


For more info on NMiTE, see this blog from Prof David Allan: Engineering a brighter future for the UK


NMiTE (New Model in Technology and Engineering) has run 16 different activities with the design cohort over the last year, including four trial modules based on their integrated master’s programme.

Seven-year-old Francesca was a key element of one trial module, in which the cohort was challenged with developing a musical aid to help Francesca – who was born with syndactyly (joined digits) on her right hand – play the violin.

At the end of the trial module Francesca returned to try the prototypes which included a ball and socket joint, 3D printing and a hand-carved wooden finger support.
– Megan Lane, cohort member

Cohort member, Megan Lane, 20, said: “At the end of the trial module Francesca returned to try the prototypes which included a ball and socket joint, 3D printing and a hand-carved wooden finger support.

“She was very impressed with all the designs, and selected one – actually the simplest design – an elasticated device easily attachable to the violin bow, to practise with over the summer holidays, before potential further refinement when she starts lessons in September.”

Francesca said: “I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity with NMiTE. The bow the design cohort created for me is so much more comfortable to grip than a regular one as I can hold it more lightly, so my hand doesn’t get as tired.

“The design cohort was such a lovely and kind group, and working with them gave me the confidence to stand up and talk to people I don’t know. I’m really excited to start violin lessons in September, and might even think about studying engineering when I’m older.”


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The collaboration between NMiTE and Francesca was aided by the OHMI Trust (One Handed Musical Instruments).

More information about NMiTE is available at https://nmite.ac.uk/