In its 18th year, the Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Home and Housewares Show announced this year's winning product designs from students representing institutions from around the country. The design competition's annual challenge to students is to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production and marketing principles and quality of entry materials.
Wesley York, a senior studying Industrial Design at Southern Illinois University from Decatur, IL, won for his design of "Illumine" -- The Pathway to Safety, an emergency light built into an electrical outlet cover. Currently, commercial buildings mount emergency lighting at ceiling level, but during a fire, smoke rises and blocks the light. "Illumine" not only lights up the floor level, but has built-in red and green LEDs that show the correct way out of a building.
"Last semester, our industrial design professor tasked us with designing some sort of lighting, and I immediately thought about emergency lighting," York said. "My father, who has been a fireman at a chemical plant for 17 years, quickly confirmed that this is an issue in commercial buildings."
Second place was awarded to Chet Larrow, a junior at the University of Cincinnati, for the "Barnacle" Air Purifier, a household air purification system, and Katlyn Ross, a senior at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, for "Quick-Fix," a first-aid system that makes treating an injury fast and easy.
Using a battery-powered motor, the "Barnacle" takes in dirty air, removes pollutants and circulates clean air back into the home environment. The attractive unit can be magnetically mounted on appliances in the kitchen or placed on a table in another area of the home. The "Quick-Fix" system organizes a first aid kit's contents into smaller boxes that are labeled by type of injury or emergency, such as cuts, burns, stings, breaks/strains, choking and poisoning, and include simple instructions. The kits help users quickly choose the correct supplies and make first aid procedures more intuitive.
Three third-place awards went to: Brendan Joyce, a junior at Purdue University for "SafeGuardian;" Kevin Wu a junior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for "Eiffel;" and Yu Zou, a junior at Arizona State University for "The Block."
"SafeGuardian" shuts off a garbage disposer when metal objects such as silverware or jewelry have fallen into the unit, and warns users with a flashing light. A portable single-serve coffee brewer with a reusable filter basket, "Eiffel" sits directly upon a cup and uses total immersion to extract more flavor from the ground beans. "The Block," a dishwasher-safe knife block made of low-impact materials, features a child lock to prevent children from removing kitchen knives and injuring themselves.
* Kathryn Asad, Pino: Measuring Tools for Low-Vision and Blind Users, North Carolina State University
* Gene Friend, "Mollie" Food Waste Dehydration System, California College of the Arts
* Ryan Geraghty, "Bol" Nesting Stacking Bowls University of Notre Dame
* Shingo Mamiya, "Raiser" Laundry Lift Bag/Hamper, Arizona State University
This year, 165 project entries were submitted from 23 design schools in North America and Europe. The winning product prototypes and their creators will take center stage in the Housewares Design Center at the 2011 International Home + Housewares Show.