Dyson and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) have announced the winners of Eye for Why, the U.S. based design competition that has, now for the past four years, challenged students to re-envision a product that excels in performance and surpasses competitors in both function and purpose by improving upon the shortcomings of an existing product offering. First place has been awarded to "Rake n Take", designed by senior Ryan Jansen from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Rake n Take, a clever adaptation of the common design which reduces the time and nuisance accompanying the leaf collection process and intends to effect as little environmental impact as possible, parallels Dyson's commitment to function-first design by implementing an innovative and more practical approach towards domestic tasks like raking leaves for which a better, more efficient solution exists.
Participants were asked to focus on the total product and, in turn, demonstrate a new and alternative design solution that solved a problem, worked well, and provided a real advantage over existing offerings. Encouraging young people to consider the way things work and how they might be improved upon is at the forefront of Dyson's commitment to the future generation of designers. It is this creative insight, understanding of designs value, and courage to defy convention that James Dyson seeks to cultivate within students studying industrial design, engineering, and science, throughout the World.
In developing Rake n Take, first place winner Ryan Jansen considered the insufficient design of the familiar yard rake and how he might reduce the time and difficulty of raking leaves while still preserving the zero-impact quality of the tool. The success of Jansen's re-invention derives from the combination handle, and the flexible rake head which, much like a clenching fist, allows the user to gather and grab yard debris, significantly easing the physical hassle of trapping and transporting it for disposal.
Second place awards went to SplitStream: Dynamic Triathlon Handlebars, by David Baggeroer, a student at Stanford University and Flux: A Better Breast Pump, by Christine Miller, a student at the California College of the Arts.
SplitStream handlebars solve a major challenge for triathletes, who during the cycling portion of the a race, must seamlessly and safely transition between a "control" position during the navigation of tight turns and steep terrain to an "aero" position during long, flat stretches of a course. Current triathlon bicycles are equipped with two separate sets of handlebars to accommodate this need, despite their creating unnecessary aerodynamic drag and endangering the cyclist and others in crowded areas. Allowing simultaneous use of breaks and gear shifters, with a hinge mechanism at its center SplitStream collapses the design of two triathlon handlebars into one, allowing an athlete to be more competitive while improving course safety conditions for all.
Flux addresses the needs of modern mothers seeking a user-friendly breast pump that allow for a less clinical and more dignified milk-pumping experience. Easy to charge, cordless and hands-free, this breast pump offers a much more compact alternative to existing ones, employing vacuum technology and clever lid storage for the breast shields and tubing. Miller's prototype also renders a more feminine take on familiar breast pump designs, offering mothers soft silicone breast pads with a choice of colors and integrating a sinuous shape into the form of the milk collection vessel.
Third place awards went to the following designs:
* Tone Hearing Aid by Kiel Mohman, a junior at the Columbus College of Art and Design who developed a more stylized hearing aid that works in synchronicity with the user's cell phone.
* Vortex Tube Water Purification Device designed by Samuel Harrington, a senior at Renesselaer Polytechnic Institute who designed a two-chamber water purifier that allows for instant water access and easy transport.
* Uber Shelter by Rafael Smith of Purdue University, who designeda simply assembled form of comfortable and space-efficient temporary shelter for use by displaced residents.
The jury included visionaries and leaders in the field of design: Yves Behar, founder of the design studio, fuseproject; Sam Farber, founder of Copco, OXO and Wovo; Tucker Viemeister, LAB Chief at Rockwell Group; Scott Henderson, founder of Scott Henderson Inc., industrial designer Niels Diffrient and Kevin Shinn, Industrial Design Manager at Dow Corning Corp.