Products that serve multiple functions and provide storage solutions are among the top winners in the 15th annual Student Design Competition, sponsored by the International Housewares Association (IHA).
Sarah O'Brien, a senior at the University of Louisiana, earned first place and US$2,400 for her design of Elizabowl, a flexible fruit bowl that expands and contracts to store and display various types and sizes of fruit. Separate compartments for each piece of fruit help minimize bruising and significantly reduce the transfer of ethylene gas that causes over-ripening. This was O'Brien's second entry in the IHA competition; she received an honorable mention in 2006.
Second place and $1,800 each were awarded to Noah Balmer, a senior at the California College of the Arts, for KitchenSync, and to Richard Hagee, a senior at the Columbus College of Art & Design, for Opus. The KitchenSync allows users an efficient way to view recipes they have stored on their home computer without printing them with water-soluble ink or bringing a laptop into the kitchen. The stationary dock houses the main components, including the computer's motherboard, and is plugged into the wall. The book component connects magnetically to the dock and is charged through induction. The book slides off the dock and can be held in the hand or placed on a countertop for optimal viewing.
The Opus laundry hammock aids in the collection, transportation and handling of at least 1.5 bushels of laundry. Opus hangs from clothes racks or in closets and allows a user to gather and sort laundry easily without bending over. The frame, which is fitted with a nylon mesh bag, folds up for safe and easy one-hand carrying. The bag can be tossed into the washer with the clothing.
Two third-place awards for $1,200 each went to Faris Elmasu and Alexander Brown, sophomores at San Jose State University. Elmasu's BIN incorporates two commonly used products — a trash bin and a light vacuum. The trash bin holds garbage, but also stores, cleans and charges the vacuum. It also provides easy access for cleaning a hard floor surface. Brown designed Della, a floor lamp/lantern/flashlight that provides ambient room and mood lighting and an emergency light. Rotating and translating arms have a lamp attached or serve as a base for a rechargeable, portable lamp that has an LED array on one end and a flashlight on the other.
The following students received Honorable Mentions and a $250 prize: