10 Positively Inspiring Product Designs Win 2009 IDEA Awards

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) announced the winners of the 2009 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).  Of the 1631 entries, 150 products received the prestigious top honors; 31 were Gold Awards.  Emphasizing sustainability, functionality, aesthetics, and designs for underprivileged populations, all of the 2009 IDEA winners were deserving of their recognition. Here are 10 IDEA Gold Award winning product designs I think will inspire future product designers and manufacturers.


1.   IDEA Best In Show Award, Gold Award for Ecodesign: Nike Trash Talk

Credit:  Kasey Jarvis, Andreas Harlow, Fred Dojan and Dan Johnson of Nike Inc.



No, it's not just a sneaker, but a performance basketball shoe made entirely of leftovers; leftover natural and synthetic leathers, foam, and rubber.  Nike did it without compromising the performance of the shoe.  If Nike can produce a quality shoe made from waste, other manufacturers can repay their debt to the earth as well.


2.  IDEA Gold Award For Leisure & Recreation: LightLane

Credit:  Evan Gant, IDSA and Alex Tee of Altitude Inc.



Bike lanes are not always available to keep bikers in line and now, with the drastic cost cutting measures in place by local governments, they're not likely to start bike safety projects any time soon.  But what about the LightLane, which puts bike safety square on the biker's own seat?  Laser beams determine the biker's lane,  showing the driver behind him how much space the biker needs.  The LightLane may make night time biking safer than riding a bike during the day!   To see videos of the LightLane in use, visit LightLane.


3. IDEA Gold Award For Commercial and Industrial Products: Better Place Charge Spot

Credit:  Gadi Amit, IDSA, Mike Massucco, Chad Harber, Justin Porcano and Barbara Stettler of NewDealDesign and Nekuda DM Ltd.




There were several gold award winners in the Commercial and Industrial Products Category. The Better Place Charge Spot is a dual outlet design for electric vehicles that is intended to be connected directly to a power grid.  It can be placed in parking lots, on streets where parking is permitting, or in special docking stations located at rest stops along highways. If we're going to build electric cars, we need someplace to charge them, and the Better Place Charge Spot should inspire planners and developers to create spaces for them.

4. IDEA Gold Award For Commercial and Industrial Products: LiftPod®

Credit:  Geoff Campbell and Jason Watson of JLG Industries, Inc. (Australia); and Dr. Hugh Stark, Frank Fornasari, Sandy McNeil, Mark Armstrong and Oliver Kratzer



You may have seen lifts similar to the LiftPod in big-box stores like Wal-Mart or Costco, but the LiftPod is a uniquely flexible, lightweight, and portable platform that you can even use around your home instead of a ladder.  With a range of 14 feet in heigt, the LiftPod gives you a 360 degree range of motion on its work stand.  It can be assembled in 30 seconds by one person and it's easy to move around.  Safety is important around the home as well as in industrial settings.


5. IDEA Gold Award For Commercial and Industrial Products: TegeraPro Vibration Control Gloves

Credit:  Marcus Gabrielsson, Hans Nyström, Olle Bobjer, Maria Benktzon, Henrik Olsson and Peter Ejvinsson of Ergonomidesign AB (Sweden).



I've heard of so many workers in certain industries with permanent neurological disabilities caused by the intense vibration of the tools required to do their jobs.  What a sad way to retire... not being able to fully use or feel your hands. Let's hope the TegeraPro Vibration Control Gloves help to remedy the terrible damage that can be done by industrial machinery.  They are insulated with a special foam that is supposed to absorb these vibrations.


6. IDEA Gold Award For Medical & Scientific Products: Pathway PV Atherectomy System

Credit: Peter Bristol, Stephanie Barnes and the industrial design and engineering teams of Carbon Design Group, and the engineering team of Pathway Medical.



To a non-medical person the technology of the Pathway Artherectomy System is nothing short of absolutely amazing.  This is a minimally invasive device that removes plaque from peripheral arteries at 60,000 rpm, without causing trauma to arterial walls.  The Pathway uses a proprietary process whereby the bits of plaque are then washed out with saline without them entering the bloodstream.  

7. IDEA Gold Award For Medical & Scientific Products: Nanopoint Microfluidics Controller

Credit: Peter Bristol, Stephanie Barnes and the industrial design and engineering teams of Carbon Design Group, and the engineering team of Pathway Medical. 



The same group that developed the Pathway System, above, won another gold for its Nanopoint Microfluidics Controller, a device for researchers that provides life support to cells being studied in an accompanying cellTRAY Fluidics System. The Microfluids Controller regulates temperature, micro-deliveries of nutrients and drugs, and removes the metabolic waste from the bio-incubator.  Wrap your mind around that....



8. IDEA Gold Award For Design Strategy: Human-Centered Design Toolkit

Credit:  Tatyana Mamut, Jessica Hastings, Fidel Calderon, Scott Tong and Sandy Speicher of IDEO.




A Toolkit designed to ultimately assist poor farmers in developing countries to improve their lives, the kit is directed to the non-governmental agencies and social organizers in these countries to support their fieldwork in data analysis, idea generation and prototyping, and implementation planning.  It is available in print and online and is free to these leaders.



9. IDEA Gold Award For Research: Project Cooper

Credit:  Industrial Design



Project Cooper was a vast study of thyroid surgeons throughout the US and Europe to ascertain their needs, preferences, and concepts for improvements in thyroid surgeries. The outcome of this study resulted in the device pictured, a new tool used in delicate surgeries that has demonstrated positive results for surgeons and their patients.


10. IDEA Gold Award For Student Designs: Energy Seed

Credit:  Sungwoo Park of Samsung Design Membership/Kookmin University (South Korea) and Sunhee Kim of Chung-Ang University (South Korea).



There were several IDEA Gold Awards given to student designs.  Energy Seeds should have been on the streets decades ago so we could have deposited our used batteries responsibly. Better late than never though, this brilliantly conceived LED street lamp acts as a repository for old batteries and uses whatever is left in them  to light the lamp and thereby the street.  This flower comes alive at night!


There were hundreds of winning designs at this years IDEA competition.  To see them all visit the IDEA 2009 Design Gallery and select a category.


IDEA 2009 Design Gallery
Photo sources: Business Week, LightLane.