Like a skilled conductor, you simply wave your hands in front of Air FX's infrared beams and the music follows. Any consumer can become a musician for less than $200 and the low cost of the components and ease of assembly achieves a high ROI for the manufacturer. Because AirFx is the first of its type, styling is contemporary but also futuristic, borrowing from automotive design.
Contact: Lisa Ilan, Alesis,
Client: Applica Consumer Products, Inc.
Increased attention to design rather than cutting prices has won the Ergo line of hand-held kitchen appliances a larger share of a relatively flat basic product category. Principles of universal design drove the ergonomic features including the intuitive grip surfaces identified graphically by overmolded soft elastomer. Oversized, bright yellow control buttons offer immediate and maximum visual access.
Contact: David Kaiser, IDSA,
Anderson Design Inc.,
Designers: Anderson Design and Applica Consumer Products, Inc.
Client: Storex Industries Corp., Canada
Storex has shaken up the three-ring binder market with its jazzed up polypropylene version. The combination of the semi-translucent cover and the overlapping spine color creates a pleasing contrast and a rich higher-end look. A wide variety of colors and widths appeal to anyone, from conservative business people to teenagers. The company debuted with this product, which is carried by major office supply retailers.
Contact: Tiziana Ubaldi,
Gad Shaanan Design Inc.,
Designers: Gad Shaanan Design, Inc.
Client: Altec Lansing Technologies
Manufacturing costs had to be kept to a minimum to keep the cost of this computer audio system low. It was designed so that the main body of the speaker including many assembly features could be molded in one piece. To minimize size, the TP5 speaker embodies a unique geometry that combines a down-firing driver in the round base with two small, flat tweeters housed within a slim tower. The juxtaposed forms give the speaker a stable yet animated appearance.
Contact: Steve Bellofatto, IDSA,
201.313.5553 ext. 22;
Designers: ION Design and Altec Lansing Technologies
The elegant round design of these speakers complements the G4Cube with which they are bundled. They offer sound quality that is easy on the eye, simple to set up and that uses very little desktop space. Like the iSub before it, the speaker sphere is a package of air; the clear materials demystify the art of acoustics and also reduce the visual bulk of the product.
Contact: Teri Pelton,
Apple Computer, Inc.,
Designers: Apple Computer, Inc.
Client: Philips Consumer Electronics
Philips needed a mechanism that would keep its PC camera stable and flexible once it was offered as a laptop peripheral. The resulting claw that hooks over a laptop screen fit the camera's animated shape, that of an electronic bird balancing on one leg. A new color palette was also introduced which will harmonize all Philips products within the PC peripherals market.
Contact: Annemieke Fröger,
+31 40 27 59066;
Designers: Philips Design, The Netherlands
Client: Microsoft Corp.
Innovative tracking technology and Internet controls presented Microsoft with the opportunity to create an equally new and innovative design for its trackball. Trackball Explorer, the high-end result, emits a distinctive red glow from the LED light that is part of the optical sensor technology. The metallic finish connects with the techno savvy target audience.
Contact: Carl Ledbetter, IDSA,
Designers: Microsoft Corp. and Surface Strategy
Industrial designers drew inspiration from vases, kitchen appliances and other facets of domestic life when they set out to create Audrey, a simple elegant appliance that family members can use anywhere in the house to access the Internet. Although equipped with the computer-like features of a screen, keyboard, modem and ports, the Audrey also departs aesthetically from computers. The wireless keyboard hangs on a hook for ready use, a clear stylus for touch-screen use rests like an antenna in a hole in the top and a prominent knob reminiscent of old TV knobs is used to switch information areas within the user's personal domain.
Contact: Scott Underwood, IDEO,
Designers: IDEO, Razorfish and 3Com
Client: kärna LLC
A boomslang is a lightning-fast Indian snake that dines primarily on mice and its technological namesake is a sinister-looking mouse for the gaming market. Interviews with gamers conducted by the designers revealed a dark edgy attitude among this subculture that would be drawn to a mouse with sinewy curves and an acid green exterior. That exterior is translucent to reveal the exoskeleton of the light-encoder technology that enhances the performance of this mouse.
Contact: Betsy Sforza,
Designers:Fitch and Michael Roberts
It's all in the family now as ThinkPad models share components and accessories. An innovative port located at the top edge of the display lets users connect to a variety of options. The 2000 design also includes the Ultraport camera and the ThinkLight, which illuminates the keyboard in darkened working environments.
Contact: David W. Hill, IDSA,
Designer: IBM Corp., and Richard Sapper, Italy