Carbon Wins Four 2011 Spark:Pro Awards

Carbon Wins Four 2011 Spark:Pro Awards

Carbon Design Group has been recognized with four awards in the 2011 Spark Awards. The winners of the 2011 Spark:Pro Awards were selected this week by a jury of experts from design, media, and education.

"We're delighted to have our work recognized in this way," said Dan Blase, President of Carbon Design Group. "It's particularly rewarding that the four entries span the broad range of industries our clients represent."

Capturing a Gold 2011 Spark:Pro, the Microsoft Touch Mouse is the first multi-touch mouse from Microsoft. Carbon collaborated with the Microsoft Hardware User Experience Team to explore what it meant to give users a touch experience.The final result clearly communicates that it's a mouse and that it's an entirely new kind of mouse. To facilitate multi-touch commands, which involve a wide array of finger combinations and strokes, the multi-touch surface extends seamlessly across the top of the mouse and down the sides. A subtle indication tells users where the left and right-click zones are. The touch surface itself is indicated by a finely textured pattern that references the underlying capacitive touch array. By merging a multi-touch surface with the form factor of a traditional mouse, the Touch Mouse is designed to introduce multi-touch computing to a new audience.

Another result of Carbon's long collaborative relationship with the Microsoft Hardware User Experience Team, the Microsoft Express Mouse garnered a Bronze award. The playful, affordable Express Mouse challenges the perception that wired mice are inherently uncool. In truth, wired mice are cool. They don't run out of batteries, they never lose connection, they're more environmentally friendly, and they cost less than their wireless cousins. The colored cable is treated as an integral part of the product, rather than as an afterthought. It wraps around the product, forming a visual and tactile bumper. The cord exits from the front left corner, adding character and relieving cable stress for right-handed users. The simple, clean silhouette allows the cable to remain highlighted and makes wired cool again.

The Milgard SmartTouch Patio Door Handle earned a Bronze Spark:Pro Award. The simple, intuitive SmartTouch is easily operated with a single hand-all in one easy motion. In contrast, most sliding doors employ a separate button or lever to engage the lock. This makes for an awkward, two-step process. The SmartTouch handle pivots slightly so that locking and unlocking occurs as a natural result of opening or closing the door. Pulling back on the handle naturally pivots the handle away from the face of the door. Conversely, pushing the sliding door closed results in forces that push the handle toward the door. Simply push or pull. The result is an intuitive product that also leverages existing internal mechanics, enabling Milgard to develop a new premium door line for the development and tooling costs of only a handle. The SmartTouch handle is so easy to use it has also received an Ease of Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.

Winning a Bronze award, the PleuraFlow Active Tube Clearance System is the first chest tube with a mechanism for actively clearing blood clots. After heart or lung surgery, chest tubes are installed to drain fluids and air. Unfortunately, these tubes routinely clog with blood clots and debris putting the patient at risk for potentially fatal complications. With PleuraFlow, a guide sleeve outside the tube is connected via magnetic coupling to the internal guide wire. This allows the nurse to manipulate the wire by shuttling the guide sleeve back and forth along the tube. This configuration enables nurses to prevent blockages by quickly clearing debris build-up-even the unseen build-up inside the chest cavity-without breaking the sterile field. Designed and developed for Clear Catheter Systems and manufactured by Xeridiem, PleuraFlow aims to deliver better patient outcomes while reducing pain in the post operative recovery after heart surgery.

In addition to these four wins, Carbon collaborated in the development of the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, which was recognized with a Spark!, the competition's top-level award. As part of a relationship that began in 1998 and spans well over 60 projects, Carbon's mechanical engineers were instrumental in realizing Microsoft Hardware Group's vision for a mouse that curves for use and snaps flat for portability. The flex and snap of the Arc Touch body creates an addictive fiddle factor and a magical product experience.

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