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Design student Oliver awarded prize - wants to stimulate young people to be more active


University of Gävle’s industrial design student Oliver Sharp received Knowit’s prize of SEK 34,000 for “Pulsen”, designed to inspire sedentary middle and high school students to move around and socialize during breaks.

Pulsen användare i miljö

Oliver Sharp, who himself has always been a sporty person, wanted to develop something that would promote activity and movement in young people. When he began to think about what schoolyards look like, it struck him that everything there is designed for small children.

Oliver Sharp

Oliver Sharp

“What is available is usually in plastic and in very strong colors; everything is quite childish and does not interest the middle and high school students. Research also shows that it is in this time period when physical activity usually ends, something that in the worst case can lead to a sedentary life even in adulthood.”


Pulsen med användare

Oliver Sharp’s idea was to create heart rate-boosting activity; hence the heart rate curves. It is supposed to be strenuous but also with a touch of play, and the classic game “The Buzz Wire Game,” which is about controlling your heart rate while maintaining focus and eye-hand coordination, has been incorporated.

“It is intentionally more stylish than what you usually find in today's schoolyards, but at the same time it is playful. Young people want to create their own thing, and here they get to exercise their creativity, regardless of whether they are competing or not. Of course, there is no current in the zigzagging heart rate curve they try to get past in the built-in Buzz Wire game. So, there will be no big shock, just an alarm that goes off,” he says with a smile.

Oliver contacted Glänta Design, which develops outdoor furniture and outdoor gyms, and a collaboration was initiated.

“I am very proud of Pulsen. It is sustainably produced with untreated oak, lasts a very long time and has the stylish design that characterizes all of Glänta Design’s products.

“Inspiration usually comes unexpectedly"


The idea came to him while walking walk by a lake near where he lives. A piece of park furniture, its shape and contour, provided the inspiration which means that Pulsen’s design was based on that shape.

“As a designer, you never take a break as you always think about what to design next, and the best ideas often come when you least expect them. This is a good example of that.

Oliver Sharp graduated from the Industrial Design Programme at University of Gävle in the spring of 2020. He appreciates that the programme is so practically oriented and gave him the opportunity to try out many design disciplines through projects with many different target groups.

“I knew about most of the design programmes in Sweden, but I was captivated by sustainability focus and the broad design profile in Gävle. So now I have many interests. I am very satisfied and confident regarding the future, as I know that I want to work with design. You can work at a design agency, but also independently, work in product development, graphic design or service design. There are many paths to choose between because design is such a wide field,” Oliver Sharp says.

Knowit’s prize

Knowits pris

Knowit i Gävle annually awards a prize of SEK 34 100 to students at University of Gävle. The purpose is to reward good study performance and stimulate students to develop their ideas further.

This year, Oliver Sharp is rewarded for his schoolyard product Pulsen that inspires sedentary middle and high school students to socialize and exercise together during breaks.

“It is especially pleasing to award a prize to something that is so clearly linked to Knowit’s vision of a sustainable and humane society,” says Hans Reinikainen, CEO of Knowit Gävleborg.

“It is a great prize to receive. An award like this means a great deal and it can definitely help one along the way,” Oliver Sharp says.


Oliver Sharp, Industrial Design Programme, University of Gävle

Phone: 076-254 56 16
E-mail: oliver.sharp15@gmail.com

Text: Douglas Öhrbom
Photo: Oliver Sharp

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2021-03-30
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)