Kickstart: Better design adds up to better products for everyone

I’m breaking with the usual format of Kickstart today to mention a few different items from one event: the Industrial Designers Society of America’s annual awards for new products.There were some 143 different projects submitted for an IDEA award, so I’m not going to get into detail on all of them, but there are quite a few interesting items that took home a gold-level award, including items previously written about by Plastics News staffers. You can .It’s not surprising that design awards presented in 2021 reflected the need for new products during COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the first collaborative projects took home a gold award.The is an open-source design for face shields developed within days by a consortium of companies based in Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin’s Makerspace worked with designers from Madison-based Delve and Midwest Prototyping LLC of Blue Mounds, Wis., on a shield that could be produced easily using an open-source, downloadable 3D printed part and clear Plastic.Thermoformer ., Portage Plastics and other companies from the packaging industry jumped in to supply materials, mold and assemble shields.”Health care systems requested 5.5 million units within weeks of launch,” IDSA judges said. “An online portal matched requests with manufacturers, and the world went to work. Production lines in 22 countries, representing 400 manufacturers, from giants like Apple to local outfits like Midwest Prototyping, combined to make 2 million per day.”In addition, awards also went to two ventilator projects: the Valence InVent Xtend system that could connect as many as four patients to one ventilator when needed and the WorldVent ventilator created as a low-cost, emergency-response ventilator. Pella, Iowa-based Pella Corp.’s new window opening system, the Easy-Slide Operator, uses a ball-bearing design and Kevlar-reinforced belt to improve on existing window hardware and took home a gold award from IDSA.Introduced on Pella fiberglass windows, the Easy-Slide also earlier this year.”We quickly discovered that homeowners need hardware that is easier to use, and designers want an option that achieves a minimalist, low-profile look,” Nicolle Picray, Pella public relations manager, told Catherine Kavanaugh for a story PN ran in February. “The Easy-Slide Operator delivers on both form and function for the modern consumer.”IDSA judges agreed and added that the hardware is more accessible for people who have problems manipulating existing cranks.”Homeowners now have a hardware option that is not only aesthetically more pleasing than a crank but is also designed for inclusivity, a solution for all people, regardless of their age or physical ability,” IDSA said.Two different Xbox video game controller systems also took home top prizes. The controllers, typically made with an injection molded housing, were noted for their ability to adapt to players. While the Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 took gold in its category as a system with a player in mind, the Best In Show award, honoring the competition’s top prize, went to a controller that everyone can use.The was created for gamers who may have problems manipulating traditional hardware.In addition to a central hub with large buttons, users can plug in a variety of joysticks allowing them to use their feet, arms or heads to play video games alongside their friends.”It was built from the ground up through strong partnerships with The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged and many community members,” Microsoft noted. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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