Melissa Cameron

Creating a more ideal heating solution for over 65s.

Every year the cost of winter cold claims 31,000 lives of elderly and other vulnerable people. Many of these deaths are caused by insufficient access to an effective heating solution. The rise in energy bills and day-to-day living are forcing people further into an energy deficit, leaving people to choose between eating a hot meal or keeping their home warm. Insufficient heating has huge consequences on a person’s health; overexposure to the cold for 2 or more hours could leave someone at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. Pneumonia and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease are the biggest killers in over 65s, and currently costs the NHS £1.36 billion a year.

Melissa’s aim was to design a cheap, energy-efficient way of protecting the elderly population from the winter cold. The solution was a localised heating system powered by induction, a relatively new and inexpensive method of heating, to create fast and powerful heating cycles. The main unit heats three devices – a gel pad, slippers, and a blanket – via an induction coil. The devices provide heat to the areas of the body that are most commonly susceptible to cold, ensuring the user’s core temperature is kept stable and reducing the risk of associated illnesses. All the devices were designed to be independent of the unit, electricity, and wires to improve energy use and mobility for users. Due to the rapid heating cycles enabled by the induction coil, the devices can be heated in 1-2 minutes, as opposed to 2-3 hours. The unit will automatically turn on when a drop in room temperature is detected, but can also be controlled manually through a simple interface.

The Dave Granshaw Foundation provided Melissa with the funds she needed to turn her idea into a working prototype, enabling her to source the necessary electronic components that were small enough to be housed within her design while still providing the right frequency for fast and efficient heating.

You can see more of Melissa’s work at