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Parkside students come up with innovative way to teach young children how to tie their shoelaces

A group of teenage friends at Parkside Community College in Cambridge have come up with an innovative new way of teaching young children how to tie their shoelaces.

InfiniTie, a simple yet novel device invented by Anjali Sivasundaram, with help from Agnes Richards, Emily West and Esther Knights, was originally an entry to the 2020 London Design Museum’s Design Ventura Competition, though the finalists’ event took place in 2021.

From left, Emily West, Esther Knights, Anjali Sivasundaram and Agnes Richards. Picture: Keith Heppell
From left, Emily West, Esther Knights, Anjali Sivasundaram and Agnes Richards. Picture: Keith Heppell

Anjali, 15, explained that the idea behind the competition is to come up with an idea for something that can help families in everyday life.

“I started thinking about problems that I would want to solve,” she said, “and I realised that for children it’s very difficult to learn to tie their shoelaces, especially because it’s a process that most of us carry out without a second thought.

“So I started playing around with different materials and experimented and the InfiniTie was born.” Emily added: “It’s not just a product that helps you tie shoes – it helps you learn the process of it by breaking it down into smaller steps.”

Anjali, Emily, Agnes and Esther became a team when they entered the competition, developing Anjali’s original idea. “It’s very much the four of us,” said Anjali, who confirmed that the invention came second in the London Design Museum’s Design Ventura Competition.

The quartet, who are all in Year 11 and who have become friends through their work on InfiniTie, have been taking their invention to primary schools in an effort to get feedback from children and teachers, with positive results so far.

Have they plans for any future designs? “I guess it’s really a case of looking for gaps in the market,” replies Anjali. “We all have a passion for design and we are constantly looking for new opportunities for things we can design.”

Emily said: “If we did, it would be working on children’s problems... I think another idea we’ve got is how children struggle with tying a tie, so we could possibly look into that.”

Clearly passionate about what they do, the friends all agree that designing things to help children has been a “very rewarding experience” and is something they would like to continue.

[Read more: Parkside parents pull out the stops to raise funds for 30 Chromebooks]

Anjali and the others are fundraising for their invention. Their JustGiving page can be viewed at justgiving.com/fundraising/infinitie.

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