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With thousands of new products being introduced every year, achieving the element of surprise in product design seems almost impossible, and yet, there are innovators who still find ways to pull it off. The evidence can be found perusing the winners of our 22nd annual Excellence in Design competition.
Surprising inventiveness can be observed in pioneering products such as PWB Health’s Breastlight, GE Security’s Streetlab Mobile, Ice Energy’s Ice Bear Hybrid air conditioner, the Dimplex Opti-myst Cadogan electric fire, and others. Surprisingly fresh takes on familiar products can also found on the Argus Bean digital camera, the Zephyr Horizon range hood, the Element ceiling fan by Big Ass Fans, and others. In short, this year’s winners have proved that it’s still possible to create novel products, even in segments that have been around for years.
Entries for this year’s competition were slotted into one of several categories. Winning entries were recognized with a Gold, Silver, or Bronze award. The winners are not evenly distributed across categories because there was no predetermined number of awards established. The idea was to recognize excellent product designs, regardless of how many or few a category produced.
An independent panel of three experts in the field of design evaluated the entries based on four criteria: aesthetics, human factors, innovation, and technical merits. Information on the judges can be found by clicking here.
Next year’s competition will be announced in November. Information on it will be available at www.appliancedesign.com/EID.
Business Machines GOLDDell PowerEdge M1000e 10U Modular Blade Enclosure by Dell, Round Rock, Texas.
Designed for upgrading and expansion, the unit’s modular approach extends its lifespan. The system’s design simplifies interaction with clear visual, tactile, and auditory cues.
Electronics GOLDThe Bean digital camera by Argus Camera Co., Inverness, Ill., and design firm TEAMS Design, Chicago, Ill.
Specifically designed for children, the camera is rugged, affordable, easy-to-use, and has a clip-on design.
Electronics GOLDIntel Classmate Laptop by Intel, Shanghai, China, and design firm TEAMS Design, Shanghai, China.
The rugged PC is a mobile personal learning device developed for primary school students in developing countries.
Medical/Test Equipment GOLDCADD – Solis ambulatory infusion system by Smiths Medical, St. Paul, Minn., and design firm Bridge Design, San Francisco, Calif.
The patient-controlled analgesia pump administers strong pain medication within preprogrammed, patient-specific, safe limits.
Medical/Test Equipment GOLDTRUE2go by Home Diagnostics, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Small, portable, reusable glucose meter can be used by itself or attached to vial of test strips.
Medical/Test Equipment GOLDBreastlight by PWB Health, Dumbarton, U.K., and design firm Wideblue, Ltd., Dumbarton, U.K.
The hand-held device uses powerful LED illumination to assist women with breast self-examination.
Outdoor/Leisure Appliances GOLDVision Grills VCS-2 designed by Metaphase Design Group, St. Louis, Mo., for Phase 2 LLC.
The compact grill features multiple cooking surfaces that swing away from the heat source for easy and safe access to food and for adding more charcoal.
Small Appliances GOLDBosch RS35 Reciprocating Saw by Robert Bosch Tool Corp., Mount Prospect, Ill., and design firm TEAMS Design, Chicago, Ill.
The saw has a high power-to-weight ratio and combines refined ergonomics and anti-vibration technologies to make it more controllable.
Small Appliances GOLDRidgid SMARTCART Wet Dry Vacuum Cleaner WD7000 by Emerson Tool Co., St. Louis, Mo.
The rectangular cart design of the vacuum makes it easy to move around and accessories are organized in storage drawers for convenience and clean appearance. Drum and filter slide out, making it easy to empty debris and to clean or replace the filter.
Business Machines SILVERFellowes Powershred PS79Ci Shredder by Fellowes, Itasca, Ill., and design firm Herbst LaZar Bell, Chicago, Ill.
Quiet shredder features 100 percent jam proof technology that prevents paper jams and uses sensor technology that disables the machine when sensing hands or large pets are too close to the opening.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERElectrolux Double Wall Oven by Electrolux Home Appliances NA, Augusta, Ga.
Cooking is speeded and simplified with the use of seven cooking modes, 10 cooking options, and favorite setting features.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERElement by Big Ass Fans, Lexington, Ky.
Stylish, large-scale ceiling fan was designed to distribute air more efficiently in large, conditioned spaces.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERGensysBlue FCHA by Plug Power, Latham, N.Y., and design firm Brownlie Design, Skaneateles, N.Y.
Residential fuel-cell heating appliance using PEM technology extracts hydrogen from natural gas to produce heat, hot water, and electricity.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERIce Bear 30 Hybrid Air Conditioner by Ice Energy, Windsor, Colo., and design firm Samson Design, Boulder, Colo.
Designed to work with existing small and mid-sized HVAC systems, the Ice Bear freezes water to store cooling energy at night when electricity generation is cleaner and less expensive.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERMaytag Bravos Top-Loading Washer MVWB800VU by Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.
Washer features 4.7 cu. ft. of capacity, CEE Tier III energy rating, NSF-certified sanitary cycle, impeller wash system, and 4-strut suspension system for vibration control.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERSide-by-Side Built-In Refrigeration by Sub-Zero, Madison, Wis., and design firm Cesaroni Design Associates, Glenview, Ill.
Built-in refrigeration models incorporate advanced air purification and water filtration systems, preserving food freshness longer, while consuming less energy than a 100 W light bulb.
Major Appliances/HVAC SILVERZephyr Horizon AHZ-M9A-X Range Hood by Zephyr Ventilation, Alameda, Calif., and designer Robert Brunner of Ammunition Design Group, San Francisco, Calif.
A blend of tempered glass and stainless steel creates a minimalist design that delivers efficient performance coupled with integrated and seamless glass touch controls, a perpetual indoor-air quality feature, and wireless remote control.
Medical/Test Equipment SILVERBD BACTEC FX blood culture system by BD, Franklin Lakes, N.J., and design firm Bresslergroup, Philadelphia, Pa.
The compact and stackable system improves both workflow and patient safety with real-time user feedback, and remote monitoring.
Medical/Test Equipment SILVERHill-Rom Envision E700 Wound Surface by Hill-Rom., Charleston, S.C.
Envision addresses five factors affecting pressure ulcer healing: pressure, shear, friction, patient immobility, and microclimate management. It also has a touchscreen GUI and reconfigurable surface.
Medical/Test Equipment SILVERStreetlab Mobile by GE Security, San Diego, Calif., and design firm Montalbano Innovation & Development, Ronkonkoma, N.Y.
Used by HazMat first responders, the ruggedized, hand-held, point-and-shoot instrument uses laser, Raman spectroscopy to identify chemicals, narcotics or toxic hazards.
Small Appliances SILVERJura-Capresso ENA 5 Automatic Coffee Center by Jura Elektroapparate AG, Niederbuchsiten, Switzerland, and design firm Candio & Buettler, Zurich, Switzerland.
Slim, bean-to-cup automatic coffee center has one-touch operation for high-pressure-brewed crema coffee, espresso, cappuccino, or latte and has energy-saving features.
Small Appliances SILVERSilhouette 120 VAC Smoke Alarm by Kidde, Mebane, N.C., a UTC Fire & Security Co., and design firm Morrow Design, Chicago, Ill.
Low-profile smoke alarm for wired installations floats barely more than one-quarter inch from the ceiling and features test button as its only user interface.
Major Appliances/HVAC BRONZEArcelik 5088NF/Blomberg MDND1880 Refrigerator by Arcelik, A.S., Istanbul, Turkey.
Frost-free unit has A++ energy rating (European) and a customizable glass door containing a touch control display. It has separate evaporators for fresh food and freezer compartments.
Major Appliances/HVAC BRONZEKitchenAid Architect Series Gas Cooktop KFGU766VSS by Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.
Key features include 20,000 BTU dual-tier burner; low-profile, edge-to-edge grates; glass touch-control display; and a hard, ceramic, clear-coat on stainless-steel surfaces.
Major Appliances/HVAC BRONZELG Electronics 4-Door, French Door Refrigerator LMX25981 by LG Electronics, USA, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
The unit combines the French-door design with two freezer drawers. Four-compartment helps optimize organizations. A tall, water dispenser handles large containers.
Medical/Test Equipment BRONZEHill-Rom TotalCare P500 Wound Surface by Hill-Rom, Charleston, S.C.
TotalCare P500 helps manage mobility, skin care, and comfort needs of patients in critical care units. Innovative bed frame and other features decrease adverse events and improves safety for patient and caregiver.
Small Appliances BRONZEBlack & Decker TLD100 Thermal Leak Detector by Black & Decker, Towson, Md., and design firm Bresslergroup, Philadelphia, Pa.
The thermal leak detector uses a projected color-coded light to help homeowners find areas around the house that need sealing or insulating to reduce energy costs.
Small Appliances BRONZEDimplex Opti-myst Cadogan Fire by Dimplex, Southampton, England.
Electric heater creates illusion of dancing flames by illuminating an ultrasonically generated water mist.
Small Appliances BRONZEMiele S7000 Full Size Upright Vacuum Cleaner by Miele & Cie. KG., Gutersloh, Germany.
Ease of use is found in a swiveling neck, 360-degree front caster wheels, and ability to lay flat. Performance is derived from 1,200 W motor and 4,800 RPM brush.
Small Appliances BRONZEZojirushi Electric Kettle by Zojirushi America Corp., Gardena, Calif.
The 34-oz. kettle has stainless-steel interior and insulated exterior. Safety features include locking lid that protects against spilling, locking switch for spout, and automatic shutoff to prevent boil-dry.
Meet the JudgesDaniel W. Mauney is the director of human factors and research at HumanCentric, Cary, N.C. He has more than 15 years of experience developing hardware and software interfaces for devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, and desktop computers. During this time, he has been able to contribute to user-interface design and evaluation in a variety of environments, including creating user-interface designs as part of a small Internet software startup, creating designs as part of a large corporation developing mobile phones, and evaluating products as part of a large corporation’s business strategy for purchasing, branding, and co-branding. In all occasions, he has been a primary user-advocate, promoting the user-centered design process and creating designs that focus on ease of use. He has authored multiple U.S. and international patents, written book chapters on small-screen interfaces and making wireless applications easy to use, and has been an invited speaker at a number of events promoting user-interface design techniques and tips to application developers. He holds a Ph.D. in Human Factors and Industrial Engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a member of the national Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction.
After tours of duty as an officer in the U.S. Navy, he began his career at General Electric where he progressed from mechanical engineer, to project leader, program manager, and manager of all programs. He has held senior leadership positions at product design firms including senior vice president of Product Genesis, and president of Altitude. During his assignments at these firms, he worked with several medical and appliance clients resulting in over 200 new products. He has extensive experience in the areas of customer-led innovation, product strategy and planning, product development, sales and marketing, multiple program management, and people management.
He has been a member of the Association of Professional Design Firms and has held senior leadership roles within the Industrial Designers Society of America, including executive vice-president, and helped the society adapt to meet the rapid changes occurring globally in the industry. He was guest editor of IDSA’s Innovations magazine twice. He has been a judge for several years with the CES Innovations Award competition.