Student Designs

Easy to press

Easy to press suggests that using a thumbtack can be easier. Its angled profile makes pushing it in and pulling it out easier.

Credits: Yeungnam university, Industrial Interaction Design and Junwon Yang
Contact: Junwon Yang:


Easily thread a needle

This project was designed to help anyone easily thread a needle. The design maintains the common form of a needle, but the needle head is made of rubber. By using the elasticity of rubber, when you press the top of the head, the hole will widen so you can push the thread through much easier than with a common steel needle.

Credits: Hoseo University, Hye jin-Lee and Mi yeon-Kim
Contact: Hye jin Lee:



In Frozen, the ice expands, shatters and creates new meaning for words and images. Paper-cut-out letters and images are frozen within small and large ice blocks. The ice and the act of freezing externalize the concept of stopping a moment in time, preserving a fragment. Freezing a word or image offers different ways of reading it, requiring viewers to reconsider their notions of the word or image.

Credits: School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Sung Suh
Contact: Sung Suh:


Freedom of underwater mobility for disabled divers

In scuba diving, buoyancy is important, despite it being one of the most difficult skills to master in the sport. For paraplegic divers, it’s almost impossible to keep balance and position underwater without special adjustments in equipment. This concept for a buoyancy compensator/diving vest widens the inflatable areas on users’ upper torso, lower torso and side, making it possible to control their position in real time while underwater.

Credits: Umeå Institute of Design and Emil Orman
Corporate Sponsor: Waterproof
Contact: Emil Orman:



The Funnel is a food-steaming appliance that features a scale that accurately controls the quantity and pressure of water injection. In addition to water injection, it ensures there isn’t any steam leakage or reflux, which can affect the food and overall effectiveness.

Designed by Haimo Bao, Jiwei Huang, Xiang Liu, Yongqiang Wang, Xiaobu Jia, Kun Xu, Song Qiao, Jiwei Zhang and Mingcang He of School of Design, Dalian Nationalities University

Contact: Jiwei Zhang -


FLC sustainable

Despite its characteristics such as greater energy efficiency and life expectancy in comparison to incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps contain toxic residues which may contaminate the environment in case of inappropriate discard or accidents regarding its handling and transportation. FLC sustainable, beyond a mere package, proposes a new kind of relationship between the consumer and the compact fluorescent lamp package by facilitating the return of the replaced, old or damaged bulb to its manufacturer and its due recycling. The package, composed mainly by a molded paper pulp case, besides protecting efficiently the new lamp from the point of sale to its place of use, acts as a protective structure for the inoperative lamps, which can therefore be discarded safely in domestic waste or forwarded to a proper waste collection point.

Designed by Guilherme Parolin

Contact: Guilherme Parolin -


Pivot: Empowering Trafficked Victims

Pivot: Empowering Trafficked Victims is a product with a hidden message intended to help victims of human trafficking become aware of their rights and the organizations that can help them. Because the information is hidden inside an everyday product, it can reach victims without their captors’ knowledge and without direct service-provider-to-victim contact.

The pilot for this concept targets female victims; the product is an ordinary-looking sanitary pad, something that is used when a person is alone. Folded inside the pad is a water-soluble insert containing a message and a hotline number that can be accessed when a victim is physically and mentally ready to get help. Ideally, a woman will be alone in a restroom when she finds the message, enabling her to read the information, detach the phone number and flush the rest of the insert in the toilet.

The pads will be distributed to at-risk women through health clinics, human-services organizations and community organizations. The insert is printed on water-soluble paper so it can easily be destroyed after detaching the hotline number. The hotline number is disguised as a fortune cookie wish, so if discovered by a trafficker, it would not raise suspicion. The insert also addresses time constraints, language barriers and varying levels of literacy by using text in combination with illustrations that have a relatable level of abstraction. Additionally, in collaboration with the Washington Anti-Human Trafficking Network (WARN), the culture of the at-risk person was considered in developing imagery and language that invokes trust.

Pivot was designed to address several specific problems in human trafficking. According to human-rights advocates, human trafficking victims can only be helped when they are emotionally and physically ready to leave their captors. Simply put, most victims aren’t rescued; they choose to seek help. The problem that many victims face is that once they are ready to seek help, they don’t know where to turn. At the same time, victims are usually under close scrutiny by their captors, making it difficult to carry rescue information with them. According to some victim services providers, victims are most at risk of violence from their captors when the captors suspect the victims will try to escape.

Pivot provides a way for victims to discreetly keep crucial information until the moment they are ready to use it. When ready, a victim can call the national hotline number listed on the insert and speak directly with a resource who will connect her with housing, legal, emotional and financial support. 

Pivot is not a stand-alone solution to the entire problem of human trafficking; rather it offers an effective to address the problem of providing discreet rescue information to some hard-to-reach populations. Although the current product is intended for trafficked women, the basic concept can be expanded to items that would target trafficked men.


Designed by Adriel Rollins, Josh Nelson, Kari Gaynor, Melanie Wang and Mike Fretto of University of Washington Division of Design

Contact: Josh Nelson -



SAFEWAVE is a robotic rescue buoy for beach authorities who are unable to employ professional lifeguards. It is designed to locate and rescue people from strong, dangerous and ultimately life-threatening rip currents. Guided by a laser pointer and sonar sensors, SAFEWAVE can quickly locate and reach the victim using powerful dual hydro jets. Just before the rescue, it inflates with compressed air to transform into a floating V-shape, which is easy to hold on to while being transported to shore. SAFEWAVE is intended to be located in dedicated rescue stands positioned at strategic locations along the beach.

Rip currents are responsible for 80 percent of drowning incidents in the United States. Many people are unaware of the dangers of rip currents and how to react if they get caught in one. Naturally, most people panic and try to fight the strong currents pulling them toward the sea, but they quickly become too tired. Unfortunately, during these types of emergencies, other people often try to rescue the victim only to find themselves stuck in the same life-threatening situation. Most of these drowning incidents could be prevented if a lifeguard was present, but lifeguards are expensive, and many beaches cannot afford to employ professional lifeguards.

Despite its technically advanced functionality, SAFEWAVE appears simple and approachable. Its design maintains some of the iconic expression from the original rescue ring buoys. The rescue stand it is housed on makes it easy to spot even from a distance, and the solar cells keep the batteries fully charged, ensuring SAFEWAVE is ready 24/7.

SAFEWAVE was designed with ergonomics in mind. The nonslip rubber-coated edges provide an excellent grip, making it easy to hold on to, especially in the front with the U-shaped handle bar. In addition, the strong red color of the rubber attracts attention, providing the person in distress a visual indication of where to grab. The inflated V-shape increases SAFEWAVE’s buoyancy and stability, making it easy to get into, unlike a conventional rescue ring. The fabric-reinforced air cushion and the neoprene material on the top provide a comfortable and shock-absorbing contact area for the body to rest on.

Its simple and intuitive semiautonomous functionality ensures that anyone can use it; no prior skills or training is needed. Simply place SAFEWAVE in the water and point it toward the person who needs to be rescued; the intelligent autonomous part does the rest. Importantly, the rescue is performed in a safe and complete way, avoiding the need for other people to risk their lives in the dangerous currents. SAFEWAVE simply makes beaches safer for everyone.


Designed by Philip Nordmand Andersen of Umeå Institute of Design

Contact: Philip Andersen -


ERO: Concrete Recycling Robot

The ERO Concrete Recycling Robot was designed to efficiently disassemble concrete structures without any waste, dust or separation and enable reclaimed building materials to be reused for new prefabricated concrete buildings. It does so by using a water jet to crack the concrete surface, separate the waste and package the cleaned, dust-free material.

Current concrete-demolition techniques require a lot of power crushing, separation and machinery, not to mention they waste a lot of water in order to prevent dust blooms during operation. Transferring waste material to recycle stations outside the city wastes time, the end result of which means that the materials can be reused only in very limited areas.

The challenge with this project was to separate materials concurrent with deconstruction. Concrete is usually reinforced with a metal mesh inside. Common techniques involve using brute force to pulverize the concrete, which creates a mixed mound of waste material that needs to be separated before it can be reused or sold as second-grade metal or as a filling material. In order to overcome later separation and ease the transport of materials, the process had to start with separation on the spot. It was a challenge to switch from brutal pulverizing to smart deconstruction.

One of the goals of this project was to provide a smart and sustainable near-future approach to the demolition operations that will facilitate reuse as much as possible. Today, operators manually control different sized heavy machinery, which consume a lot of energy to smash and crush the concrete structure into dusty bits. Water has to be sprayed constantly with fire hoses to prevent harmful dust from spreading. After the work is done, big machines scoop up the rebar and concrete mixture and transfer them to the recycle stations outside the city where the waste is separated manually. Concrete needs to be crushed with power crushers in several stages, the end result of which it can only be used for simple construction layouts. The metal is melted for reuse.

An autonomous fleet of ERO Concrete Recycling Robots is placed strategically within the building. They scan the surroundings and determine a route with which they will execute during the operation. Once ERO starts working, it literally erases the building. ERO deconstructs with high-pressure water and sucks and separates the mixture of aggregate, cement and water. It then sends aggregate and filtered cement slurry separately down to the packaging unit to be contained. Clean aggregate is packed into big bags, which are labeled and sent to nearby concrete precast stations for reuse. Water is recycled back into the system. The packaging unit provides ERO with vacuum suction and electrical power. Turbulence dynamos placed within the air suction route produces some percent of power that ERO needs. ERO uses less than what it gets. Nothing is placed in land fills or sent away for additional processing. Even the rebar is cleaned of concrete, dust and rust and is ready to be cut and reused immediately. Every bit of the load-bearing structure is reusable for new building blocks.

This project is an excellent solution for the complexity of today's demolition techniques, which consume a lot of energy to create a lot of waste. ERO simply turns waste into an asset.


Designed by Omer Haciomeroglu of Umeå Institute of Design of Design for Atlas Copco Rockdrills AB

Contact: Omer Haciomeroglu -