Hearing Assist, Health-Promoting Chair Among Design Finalists
An in-ear device that restores high-frequency hearing loss for people who maintain their low-frequency hearing, a power-heated wetsuit, a health-promoting office chair, and a water-cooled marine fire and salvage pump are among the 73 finalists in the 2009 Australian International Design Awards, Standards Australia's design recognition program. Among the entries not selected as a finalist was the Sharpsmart reusable container for collecting used sharps with less chance of injury to health care workers. Winners will be announced April 20 at a dinner in Melbourne; the finalists are vying for the 2009 Australian International Design Award of the Year or an Australian International Design Award or Australian International Design Mark.
"During the judging week, our panel thoroughly scrutinized 116 short-listed products, right down to test driving the cars, jumping on the spring-free trampoline, and even wearing and washing the socks that claim to cool your feet," said Stephanie Watson, program director for the Australian International Design Awards. "The judges not only considered each product on visual and stylistic appeal, but examined functionality, environmental impact, innovation, and human factors, design aspects which are considered on a daily basis by industrial designers and manufacturers across the world."
Michelle Berryman, immediate past president of the Industrial Designers Society of America, is an international judge in the competition. She said the finalists "were products that brought a degree of joy to the user. They performed well and were very aesthetically pleasing. They were clearly a cut above the other products."
The Cochlear™ Hybrid™ System, a finalist from Cochlear Limited, blends cochlear implant and hearing aid technologies. The device restores severe to profound high-frequency loss in individuals who maintain their low-frequency hearing by use of electrical stimulation.
Another finalist, the Herman Miller EMBODY chair, is designed to be the first health-positive office chair. More than 30 professionals contributed to the design, which is made to offer dynamic surface pressure and automatically allow users to achieve postural equilibrium.
Rip Curl's power-heated H-Bomb, also a finalist, is a wetsuit made of E3 Neoprene and equipped with adjustable heating elements that line the back of the suit. The heating elements are powered by two lithium Ion batteries and positioned to warm the wearer's core; the suit has been tested in chilly waters off Norway, Iceland, and South Africa.
The FSP36 fire pump from Britton Marine (Australia) Pty Ltd is the first water-cooled marine diesel fire and salvage pump, according to its manufacturer, which says the water-cooled design eliminates the dangers of overheating, and the pump aids damage control by pumping contents of compartments of damaged vessels from one compartment to another to maintain ship stability.