IHA Names Student Design Competition Winners

A diverse group of student industrial designers recently won the top prizes in the International Housewares Association’s 27th annual Student Design Competition. Their winning concepts are said to help protect vulnerable populations and address the environmental impact of personal care products.

Sanae Tanaka Wilson, an Art Center College of Design junior who grew up in Japan and now lives near Los Angeles, and Jesse Palma, a Purdue University graduate, won first place respectively for their SurviBear disaster preparedness kit for infants and Relleve delivery system for topical therapy.

The competition challenges college students to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production and marketing principles, and quality of entry materials. First place winners receive a $3,000 cash prize.

An emergency kit for parents of infants, SurviBear contains a three-day supply of baby needs. Worn as a backpack, it allows parents to hold the infant securely during an evacuation. When opened, it can act as a clean surface for diaper changing and feeding, and as a bed. A subscription service replenishes and updates the food and diapers as the child grows; unused supplies can be returned and reused.

Palma designed Relleve (shown below), which solves problems with topical ointment application, patient-doctor interaction and patient self-confidence in managing treatment for skin conditions. A customized ointment tube fits into the pen applicator which dispenses the proper dosage, reducing waste and mess. Tubes are delivered to the home as needed by an online pharmacy subscription. A wireless charging system allows the user to integrate the device into daily life, building healthy habits and self-assurance for young patients.

Altogether, there were 265 entries from 29 schools in the U.S., Canada and India.

Vicki Matranga, IHA’s design programs coordinator and manager of the Student Design Competition, said, “IHA’s program has become known as the gold standard for college-level competitions. Many U.S. professors, and an increasing number internationally, assign the program annually to industrial design students because it is a real-world exercise and every entry receives feedback from two industry professionals. Students must identify user needs and opportunity spaces in the marketplace, research competitive available products, test models with users and consider production issues.”