The goal of all design, in some ways, is to make the world a better place. But beyond the functional and/or aesthetically pleasing products that you choose for your home or office, design can raise the standard of living for ...
Making the world a better place is no easy task. The number of designs attempting to do so is overwhelming and every single one is contributing to the betterment of life in some shape or form—maybe it's a beautiful desk organizer that completely changes the way someone works, or maybe it's a medical innovation that helps patients heal faster and get back to living their lives. The Social Impact entries for the 2014 Core77 Design Awards covered a variety of topics, from wheelchair designs to water irrigation systems.
Led by Danish Design Centre CEO Nille Juul-Sørensen, the Social Impact jury chose six standout designs from this year's entries. Read on to see the designer's contributions to making the world a more comfortable—and accessible—place.
Professional Winner: Saajhi Stepping Pump, by Sam Rulli and Xylem Essence of Life
The Saajhi Stepping Pump is a simple device that has the potential to triple the revenue of smallholder farmers in emerging agriculture markets. Sam Rulli and Xylem Essence of Life designed a way for farmers to use their own body weight and gravity to irrigate their fields—and use 40 percent less water while they're at it. The pump draws water from nearby sources and can be transported to the area that needs watering.
» Learn more about Saajhi Stepping Pump
Student Winner: Walter - Alter the Wheelchair, by Christian Bremer and Erik Ohlson
While wheelchairs provide an important mobility to their riders, they often don't perform the way we'd like them to on tough terrain and challenging topography. Chalmers University of Technology students Christian Bremer and Erik Ohlson created a wheelchair design that enables a more active, adventurous lifestyle. Walter - Alter the Wheelchair allows riders to translate the position of the chair's seat, changing its center of gravity. The design helps the person in the wheelchair act more freely and independently without any added accessories or bulky design.
» Learn more about Walter—Alter the Wheelchair
Professional Runner Up: 3D-Printed Personal Ekso, by Gustavo Fricke, Scott Summit, 3D Systems and Ekso Bionics
Like Walter, the 3D-Printed Personal Ekso is designed to help those bound to a wheelchair find a independence in the way they move. Gustavo Fricke, Scott Summit, 3D Systems and Ekso Bionics teamed up to design a wheelchair alternative that allows the user to stand instead of sit. The 3D-printed parts are created using a 3D-body scan, to ensure that the contact points provide an accurate, symbiotic connection to the body. The project combines the precision of technology with the gracefulness of biology to provide a seamless motion to an otherwise mechanical concept.
» Learn more about 3D Printed Personal Ekso
Professional Runner Up: A Self Stabilizing Spoon for Hand Tremors, by Anupam Pathak, John Redmond and Michael Allen
Diseases like Essential Tremor and Parkinson's can make it difficult to perform the simplest of tasks in a comfortable way. Eating is one of those tasks. A Self Stabilizing Spoon for Hand Tremors—designed for Lift Labs—is a tool that counteracts a shaky hand when eating. How it works: The spoon detects the tremor and moves in the a direction opposite of the tremor's. The movement is cancelled out, creating a stable surface to transport food from a plate.
» Learn more about A Self Stabilizing Spoon for Hand Tremors
Student Runner Up: Remind - Music for Memory, by Migle Padegimaite, Lina Trulsson, Darja Wendel and Emily Keller
Watching a loved one—or anyone for that matter—fight Alzheimer's is a heartbreaking experience. Umeå Institute of Design students Migle Padegimaite, Lina Trulsson, Darja Wendel and Emily Keller have developed another method for remembering with their music-based memory jogger. Remind - Music for Memory is a music player managed by family members through a mobile app. Sounds can be assigned to faces, so the sound is played when the patient forgets a face, in order to trigger the memory. The music player can also be used as a companion for when the patient is alone.
» Learn more about Remind—Music for Memory
Student Runner Up: Additio Prosthetic Tool System, by Scott E Forsythe
Prosthetics can offer a range of motions for amputees, but there's one aspect that has yet to be resolved: gripping small objects. Emily Carr University of Art and Design student Scott E Forsythe designed an adapter that makes it easier for wearers to access these troublesome objects. The Additio Prosthetic Tool System includes various household tools—kitchen accessories, maintenance devices, personal care obkects—that can be attached to a split-hook limb. The system uses magnets, making the loading/removing process hassle-free.
» Learn more about Additio Prosthetic Tool System