2006 Annual Design Review Equipment Design Distinction

Practix Convenio Mobile X-ray
The Practix Convenio is meant for patients who are too sick or fragile to be moved or repositioned yet require X-rays from multiple angles. Its design immediately struck the jurors, and a closer look revealed praiseworthy attention to detail, from the simple, easy-to-read interfaces to the smartly tucked away wheels. “It’s iconic,” Selker said. “It doesn’t look like anything else.” The jurors agreed that the machine’s simple forms made it manageable and user-friendly rather than threatening as medical devices can sometimes be. “There are very few false moves here,” Ludwig said, citing the unit’s compactness, mobility, consistent design language, and clarity of idea. Patton concurred: “There is a symphony of form here. There is nothing gratuitous about it. And there is a tremendous amount of logic. I see real problems in ergonomics being solved.”

DESIGN/CLIENT Philips Design (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)
MATERIALS Aluminum, steel, injection-molded rubber
SOFTWARE Rhino 3D, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Flamingo

Lithoskop U10 Multifunctional Lithotripsy System
This lithoscope locates urinary stones, breaks them apart with ultrasonic waves, and performs an assortment of other urological treatments. But what impressed the jurors most was that it manages to move around patients rather than requiring them to reposition themselves. As Selker said, “The C-arm has been around for years, but it has been put to a new use here. This solves a functional problem with its design language.” All the same, the product’s use of color generated debate. “Blue is about water, and this is all about water,” said Selker, referring to the water-filled cushion at the end of the C-arm, which focuses shockwaves. But Patton found the color palette dissonant and argued that the blues were “the wrong blues.” It wasn’t a discussion of superficial aesthetics so much as the fact that because color evokes reflexive, perhaps subconscious, responses, which are heightened in a medical environment, its choice is more than merely incidental.

DESIGN Designafairs (Munich): Christoph Boeninger, principal
CLIENT Siemens AG (Erlangen, Germany)
MATERIALS ABS, TPU
SOFTWARE Autodesk AliasStudio, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop

Hanson Two-Point Discrimination Device
Paper clips are commonly cited as one of the world’s best-designed objects, but the two-point discrimination device shown here set out to improve upon them. To explain: For lack of anything better, doctors routinely unbend paper clips as a tool to test nerve damage. By using the two ends to touch a patient, and varying the distance between the points, they are able to ascertain where patients can distinguish stimuli. The Hanson Two-Point Discrimination Device, designed as a turning wheel with eight pre-established settings, is more precise and easier to use. As Selker noted, the device “solves a real problem in an ergonomic fashion. And it looks well researched.” The jurors also appreciated the David and Goliath aspect of honoring this lightweight, pocket-held gadget alongside two projects on a much larger scale. But something else they agreed on was “the crass marketing on the back,” and they questioned whether the branding of pharmaceutical companies undermined the product’s trustworthiness. Is it just some cheap marketing swag or is it a real tool? Can it be both?

DESIGN/CLIENT PharmaDesign, Inc. (Warren, NJ): Matthew Coe, principal designer; Hung Mach, mechanical designer
MATERIALS Injection-molded ABS and polypropylene
SOFTWARE Rhino 3D, SolidWorks

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