Taming of the Ring

No matter how musical, cell phone ringing is becoming a social pollutant and this study addressed the issue and a possible solution in the form of a vibrating watchband. The watchband could be touched discretely to either forward a call to a voice mailbox or put a caller on hold while seeking a more appropriate setting to conduct a call.

Contact: Celine Pering,
Stanford University,

Designers: Celine Pering, Stanford University


BMW used its knowledge of steering, suspension and axel design to create a premier skateboard, the Streetcarver, with unparalleled feel and experience. The unit's ride is similar to a surfboard or snowboard.

Contact: Ingrid Falter,
BMW Group, Germany,

Credit: BMW Group, Germany

ReThinking The Thumbtack

Client: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Only a designer or a design student would be bold enough to tamper with such an iconoclast as the thumbtack. But this simple yet clever update facilitates the many unauthorized services into which the conventional version is often pressed, such as hanging items or stringing wire or lights. This thumbtack redux's horseshoe design allows for stringing cords, wires and hooks and the double pin design increases stability and strength while decreasing the number of tacks needed.

"With clever simplicity, an old idea has been refined and distilled in a meaningful way. Good design has expanded the market for this item by incorporating multiple uses that updates the product, and at the same time made it ergonomic." -Shaun Jackson, IDSA, Shaun Jackson Design

Contact: Scott Kochlefl,
University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign,

Designers: Scott Kochlefl, Michael Vostal, Laura Naughton, Matthew Wertz and Teresa Barin of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Client: Mattel Inc.

What a girl wants is her diary and what a girl needs is this electronic version that includes a digital video camera with a small color LCD, individual time capsules and a networked pond that connects all the parts in the system. A girl 8-12 years of age captures video, stills and sound clips from her everyday life, stores them in whimsical time capsules and replays them on the color display of the camera by placing the capsules and camera in various locations in the pond.

"This meaningful interpretation of an old paradigm brings the diary straight into the 21st century. The research done to assure the product would resonate with girls ages 8-12 enabled the designers to create a product that is vibrant, yet sophisticated, mirroring the qualities valued by the target market." -Shaun Jackson, IDSA, Shaun Jackson Design

Contact: Kelly Kruse, CCAC,

Designers: Kelly Kruse, California College of Arts and Crafts

Spyfish® STV

Client: H2Eye International Ltd., United Kingdom

The unique and thoughtful Spyfish STV brings the adventure of underwater diving to the surface with a miniature remote controlled submarine equipped with two video cameras and lights. The user controls the movement of the unit with a wireless hand controller down to depths of 150 meters. Because the unit has rechargeable batteries to power it, the only cable attached to it is a slim video link.

Contact: Scott Underwood, IDEO,

Credit: IDEO, U.S. and United Kingdom, and H2Eye International Ltd., United Kingdom


This concept develops a common set of consumer electronic components or "seed" that can be configured into a digital camera, for example, or reconfigured into a cellular phone or even "reskinned" into a completely new device by some upstart company. The components had to fall somewhere between raw computing material and beautiful high tech gadgets. It is a strategic model that proposes we design the ability to restructure the technology in our lives to suit our individual needs.

"Part product and part strategy-a suggestive and provocative approach to the role that design plays in conjunction with 'the brand.' Beautifully written research." -Naomi Gornick, I/IDSA, Brunel University, U.K

Contact: Matthew Boyko,
Cranbrook Academy of Art,

Designers: Matthew Boyko, Cranbrook Academy of Art


This movable medical stand eliminates visual clutter, has a compact footprint and is sturdy. Cables are hidden, as the wires are routed through the cart's central pole, avoiding cables laid across the cart and on the floor. No chrome or hard edges and fasteners are hidden. Adaptable to many different hospital and clinic uses. Universal mount makes it easy to upgrade a change to the display.

Contact: Robert Marchant, Modo, Inc.,

Credit: Modo, Inc.

Nautilus Endoscopic Stone Retrieval Instrument

Client: Annex Medical Inc.

Bilitz Design had its work cut out for it. Not only did it have to solve a particular problem with a delicate surgical procedure, but it had to develop a patentable device to distinguish its client from other competitors. Bilitz delivered on both counts with its injection-molded handle for the basket that is inserted through an endoscope to remove bile duct stones. This handle is lighter than any other on the market, which keeps it from kinking or bending the wire during transport. The designers also added a "spinner" which is a patentable feature that allows the surgeon to turn the basket inside the patient without having to turn the entire handle.

Contact: Mark R. Bilitz, IDSA,
Bilitz Design, Inc.,

Designers: Bilitz Design, Inc.

Soft Scan, Magnifying Glass/Book Mark

Client: Back GmbH, Germany

An elegant statement to form with simple, basic construction, the Soft Scan is a magnifying glass mounted in a thin stainless steel flat base that can used as a bookmark, a reading eye piece or a general magnifying glass.

Contact: Victoria J. Alicea,
ECCO Design Inc.,

Credit: ECCO Design Inc.


xm is an alternative to panel-based cubicles providing a high level of function yet a new, more refined aesthetic design. Furniture acts like architecture, defining space in a complex workspace. The design starts with the service spine, which performs multiple functions and supports multiple technologies; acting as a physical support for desks, screens, storage and accessories; and establishes the basic dimension of a pair of workstations.

Contact: Anna Arsenault,
Teknion Corp.,

Credit: Teknion Corp.