Plastics are prominent in multiple gold-winning entries in the 2012 International Design Excellence Awards. Medical equipment, smartphones, an infant warmer, a task light and headphones are among the winners. The Industrial Designers Society of America in Dulles, Va., organizes the annual contest.
Rhys Newman chaired a 19-member panel of consultancy, corporate and academic designers that selected the 35 gold, 71 silver and 123 bronze IDEA winners from among 660 finalists during a May 2-4 gathering in Dearborn, Mich. Newman is head of advanced projects for Nokia Corp. and based at a Nokia design center in Calabasas, Calif.
Judges focused on innovation; user benefit; society benefit; client benefit; visual appeal and appropriate aesthetics; usability, emotional factors and unmet needs for the design research category; and internal factors, methods, strategic value and implementation for the design strategy category.
Blair Wieland, president of Sauder Manufacturing Co.'s Wieland furniture line in Grabill, Ind., won for the sleepToo virtual family room to accommodate a hospitalized patient's relatives.
Materials include 19 pounds of high-resiliency foam, 15 pounds of various plastics and, if upholstered, 14 pounds of hospital-grade vinyl. Other parts of the 242-pound largest unit have 106 pounds of wood and plywood from suppliers using responsible forestry practices, and 88 pounds of metal.
Occupying as little as 18 square feet, the unit has an integrated, height-adjustable, cantilevered table and a three-seat sofa that transforms into a chair with ottoman or a twin-sized bed. A patient's family can stay for a day, night or longer.
Designers with the New York office of Smart Design LLC won for the Tot Seedling youth booster seat from New York-based kitchen gadget manufacturer Oxo International Ltd.
Materials include polypropylene and, for the cushion, a removable, crevice-free, soft-skin polyurethane. Designed on the basis of extensive user testing, the foldable, portable booster seat aims to help children during their transition from a highchair en route to a big chair. The seat retails for about $40.
Credits go to Smart Design, Brook Kennedy, Colin Kelly, Charlie Paradise, Steven Vordenberg and Gina Gargiulo.
Designers from Crown Equipment Corp. of New Bremen, Ohio, and associates won for the Crown RM 6000S MonoLift-brand reach truck. Minor uses of polymers include pressure formed, impact-resistant ABS for the covers, 0.9 percent rubber and 0.7 percent plastics. Crown uses recyclable materials, mostly steel, for about 99 percent of the truck.
Credits go to Crown and the firm's Mike Gallagher, Roger Quinlan, Adam Ruppert, Phil Swift, Jim Kraimer and Craig Rekow; Ben Purrenhage with Tekna Inc. of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Eric Hanson of Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc.; and Robert Henshaw of Formation Design Group of Atlanta.
Ralph Appelbaum Associates Inc., SYPartners and Mirada Design Group LLC, all of New York, along with Auburn Hills, Mich.-based agency George P. Johnson, won for the Think multimedia exhibition marking the centennial of IBM Corp. Half-inch-thick Corian material from DuPont Co. was used for benches and the information desk; 1-inch-thick ECOsurface recycled rubber tiles for the exterior; and 0.32-inch-thick ECOsurface carpet tiles for the interior floor. SloanLED Co. provided LED technology for a 123-foot-long data-visualization wall using more than 1.18 million pixels. The public viewed the exhibit last fall at New York's Lincoln Center.
Designers for the health and medical equipment business of Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. won three gold awards for two digital radiology systems and a graphical user interface. Materials in components of each system include polycarbonate, ABS, acrylic, steel and aluminum.
The flagship XGEO GC80 model is a ceiling-type X-ray system with a simplified workflow designed to increase throughput and improve the workspace. Credits go to the company and Jae Hwa Moon, Jung Hoon Kim, Jun Pill Moon and Yun Su Kim.
The repetitive yet complex nature of taking X-rays can fatigue radiographers, and the fully motorized XGEO GU60 system offers an ergonomic approach. The fully automated U-arm can rotate 30-120 degrees, and the source-to-image/receptor distance ranges between 3.3 and 5.9 feet. Credits go to Samsung, Jae Hwa Moon, Jun Pill Moon, Soo Ki Kim and Yun Su Kim.
The design of the intuitive XGEO interface is consistent between the top head unit and the workstation. The interface helps to prioritize key information in a limited design space. Credits go to Samsung, Hyewon Lee, Sungnam Kim, Sung Park, Haeung Jung, Jinho Yim, Youngjun Hong and Jonghyun Shin.
The systems entered the commercial market in January and were shown initially during the Feb. 16-19 Korea International Medical and Hospital Equipment Show in Seoul, South Korea.
Samsung designers also won for a compact, one-burner, portable induction hob or cook top.
The design uses polycarbonate to make the cook-top base clear and transparent except for the rear, where a white spray finish is applied. An elastomer material is applied to the legs to prevent the product from slipping and to create a soft image.
Samsung said a cook-top model in one of five colors costs about $540, and a black cook-top model is about $400. During 2011, Samsung designers in Suwon began developing the product in August, and commercial sales began in November.
Credits go to Samsung, Gilock Lee and JungKyung Kwack.
Designers with the humanitarian assistance program of Bangalore, India-based Embrace Technologies Inc. won for design of an infant warmer.
Components include a sleeping bag, a pouch of phase-change material and an electric heater to warm the pouch.
A user inserts the pouch into the electric heater. The heated pouch then is placed into the sleeping bag and the baby is placed inside. The pouch will remain at 98.6 degrees for at least four hours.
The phase-change material absorbs heat from the baby if the baby gets too hot or releases heat if the baby gets too cold. The pouch has an indicator that shows when it must be reheated, and the pouch can be reheated hundreds of times.
ABS encases the heater. The baby wrapping includes cotton, nylon and polyurethane-coated nylon, and the warming pack consists of PU, the proprietary phase-change material and water.
One-button operation allows unskilled staff to operate the warmer as an alternative to expensive, traditional incubators.
Emergency Embrace donates the item to organizations working in developing countries to offset the effects of hypothermia on prematurely born and low-birth-weight babies.
Credits go to Embrace, Jane Chen, Linus Liang, Naganand Murty and Rahul Alex Panicker.
Designers at Nike Inc. of Beaverton, Ore., and two other firms won a gold award for the Nike+ FuelBand competitive fitness device.
Materials include thermoplastic elastomer, 43 percent; polypropylene, 34 percent; magnesium, 14 percent; and stainless steel, 9 percent.
TPE is injection molded directly over the flexible printed-circuit components to minimize thickness. TPE was selected for its bonding properties with PP, which is injection molded for the inner spine to accommodate repetitive flexing.
A 30 percent glass-filled PP is two-shot injection molded around USB contact inserts to achieve water resistance. The first shot secures the contacts, and the second hides support pin holes and forms the closure lock detail.
Thixomolded magnesium forms the wells and doors for two curved lithium polymer batteries. Injection molded stainless steel is used for the intricate closure and locking mechanism.
The device includes a watch and tracks activity through a universal metric based on oxygen kinetics, and enables athletes to compare, compete and collaborate across activities, regardless of gender and body type. The product entered the market in January at an initial price of $149.
Nike+ FuelBand competes in a market niche with the Striiv smart pedometer, Motoactv fitness tracker/MP3 digital audio player and Jawbone Up wristband/iPhone activity-tracking application.
Credits go to Nike's digital sport design team, design firm Astro Studios Inc. of San Francisco and New York-based advertising agency R/GA Media Group Inc.
Humanscale Corp. of New York and two designers won for the Horizon LED task light.
Humanscale said the Horizon is the first use of its Thin Film LED Technology-brand development in a task light.
A series of high-intensity LEDs surround several layers of polycarbonate and optical films.
Recycled aluminum is the principal material in the task light.
Seoul Semiconductor Co. Ltd. of Ansan, South Korea, manufactures the LEDs, and another South Korean firm makes the thin PET film diffuser on the top of the light guide. The diffuser has a micro-structure that is applied to the film through a roll-to-roll process.
A Shanghai company molds the light guide of PC with in-molded micro-lenses.
The $375 task light entered the commecial market in late 2011.
Credits go to Humanscale, Michael McCoy of Buena Vista, Colo., and Peter Stathis of San Francisco.
Designers with Nokia Corp. scored gold awards with two of its smartphones, the Lumia 900 and Lumia 800.
Both models offer the sleek form of a polycarbonate unibody that flows seamlessly into the curved display of Corning Inc.'s alkali-aluminosilicate sheet Gorilla Glass.
Nokia said it designs the smartphone from the inside out from a single piece of injection molded PC and a pigment that provides inherent color throughout the product.
Nokia uses a collapsing-core tool and post-processing techniques — machining to tight tolerances, polishing off flash lines — that are normally reserved for metals.
The Nokia Lumia 800 was launched in October.
The fourth-generation LTE-standard Nokia Lumia 900 was launched in January for the U.S. market. Shipments began in early 2012.
Credits for the Lumia 900 go to Nokia Design, Rachael Bell, Ram Chaturabul, Aki Laine, Ed Mitchell and Jim Holtorf and, for the Lumia 800, Nokia Design, Tina Aarras, Casper Asmussen, Anton Fahlgren, Lynda Jones, Nicolas Lylyk, Mika Nenonen and Axel Meyer.
Designers with Ammunition LLC of San Francisco won three gold awards including a pair for entries from Beats Electronics LLC of Santa Monica, Calif., and one for an e-book from Barnes & Noble Inc. of New York. The Beats by Dr. Dre-brand wireless headphones have Bluetooth connectivity.
The other award was for the Beats Mixr over-the-ear headphones for professional disc jockeys and audio enthusiasts. A 6-foot-long cable is coiled at the bottom for freedom of movement.
Both products have nylon for the headband, silicone for the head cushion and insoluble scleroprotein for the ear cushion. Long-lasting, rechargeable batteries power the headphones.
Credits for the wireless product and the Beats Mixr go to Ammunition and the group's Robert Brunner and Grégoire Vandenbussche.
Dr. Dre is the stage name for Andre Romelle Young, a U.S. record producer, rapper, actor and entrepreneur who initially introduced his brand of high-performance headphones in 2008.
Ammunition's design for Barnes & Noble involves the Nook Simple Touch digital reading device that uses e-ink technology, a touch interface and wireless connectivity.
Materials include injection molded ABS and polycarbonate, a soft-touch polyurethane coating and a laminated bezel with an in-mold label. Simple Touch weighs 7.48 ounces, can fit in a jacket, pocket or purse and can hold up to 1,000 digital books plus personal content using an expandable memory slot.
Optical infrared sensors from Neonode Inc. of Stockholm surround the display and locate the position of a user's finger on the screen.
Designers with music recording and production software developer Propellerhead Software AB and design agency No Picnic AB, both of Stockholm, won for a two-in by two-out audio interface. A soft-touch polymer coating covers the plastic housing and all buttons and knobs for the Propellerhead Balance with Reason Essentials. Non-slip rubber pads on the base prevent skidding.
The design team analyzed recordings from a musician's perspective and found that certain non-musical issues take too much time: installing software, managing cables, setting up control panels, setting gain levels and tweaking recording parameters. With Propellerhead Balance, all instruments can be connected at all times so musicians are always ready to record.
Credits go to Propellerhead's Ernst Nathorst-B""s, Marcus Zetterquist and Fredric Vinnå and No Picnic's Anna-Carin Neale, Thomas Mach and Jonas Westius.
Five designers at Fluke Corp. of Everett, Wash., won a gold award for the 36X/37X/38X family of clamp meters with the iFlex flexible current probe.
Materials include ABS/polycarbonate blend, copper and steel. A unit retails for up to $500.
The electrical tester combines a voltmeter with a clamp-type current meter. Electricians use the equipment to measure electrical energy.
Credits go to Ferdinand Laurino, Matthew Marzynski, Jeff Worones, Tiena Yang and Duncan Kearsley. Fluke is a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corp.
Designers in an Osaka, Japan, center of Panasonic Corp. won for a light-emitting-diode clear light bulb.
Materials include a flame-retardant resin, aluminum, glass and mineral compounds. Development began in September 2010, and commercial sales began in Europe initially in July 2011.
The product recreates the mood, quality and look of an incandescent bulb.
The LED clear bulb is sized for use with any light fixture that uses an incandescent, and its compact components fit an incandescent's overall shape and dimension. The design disperses light in all directions and eliminates need for a heat sink. Recently, Panasonic launched a 40-watt-equivalent, clear LED lamp into the European consumer market. Panasonic aims by 2016 to quintuple sales in its European LED lighting business vs. 2011. A Panasonic online shop for the United Kingdom offers a 20-watt-equivalent LED clear bulb for about $40.
Credits go to the corporation, Nobuyuki Mase and Haruhiko Uneo.
DW Product Development Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario, and Ecologic Brands Inc. of Oakland, Calif., and four designers won for a sustainable package for liquid laundry detergent.
Identified as an Ecologic Brands paper bottle, the package consists of a molded paper shell, a pouch liner of thin low density and high density polyethylene films and a 2-inch-diameter fitment/locking collar of injection molded LDPE. DW said the pouch resin uses up to 75 percent less plastic than is used in rigid containers.
After emptying the bottle, a user can separate the outer shell from the liner. The shell is recyclable as paper or compost, and the liner and collar are recyclable as LDPE through grocery store collection points or for manufacturing of Trex Co. composite decking.
The product entered the commercial market in March 2011, retails for $12.99-$14.99 and has helped green cleaning products firm Seventh Generation Inc. of Burlington, Vt., gain market share. Seventh Generation launched a four-times-concentrated detergent using the Ecologic bottle in the natural grocery channel in March 2011.
Credits go to DW's Romeo Graham, Rob Watters and Mike Sirois, and Ecologic's Julie Corbett.
Designers with Teague of Seattle and B/E Aerospace Inc. of Wellington, Fla., won for a line of 10 products with in the Essence Inserts Collection.
Materials include thermoplastics, advanced aerospace plastics, polymer matrix composites, lightweight foams, pure and alloy aluminums, stainless steel and copper. The products can work alone or within an integrated system.
The collection addresses airlines' need to differentiate services, including those functional items such as a steam oven and an espresso maker in each airplane's cabin galley. The line's language is designed to create a sense of harmony and balance within the cabin galley.
Credits go to Teague's Brian Conner, Tony Bravetti, Sebastian Petry and Adam Kumpf, and the B/E Aerospace design team.
Teague — legally Walter Dorwin Teague Associates Inc. — also won a gold award for its holistic Teagueduino/teagueduino.org open-source interactive hardware platform in the IDEA digital design category.