2006 Annual Design Review Equipment Honorable Mention

Cordless Ring Scanner
This device for collecting bar-code data, designed by San Francisco-based MontgomeryPfeifer for Socket Commu-ni-cations, has a novel elegance. Intended for use in retail, manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation, the unit, which includes a single-finger scanner and a forearm trans-mitter with a rechargeable battery pack, allows for unen-cumbered scanning. The designers cited mobility, comfort, durability, and safety as the key issues addressed here. While Ludwig praised the haptic relationship of the scanner as prosthetic, Selker countered, “My problem is that I don’t immediately guess that this is a scanner.” Maybe not at first sight, but the jurors were ultimately won over by the idea of reconfiguring the scanning process in a more intuitive way.

Ready Steth
A stethoscope, reflex hammer, and exam light are accessories doctors commonly rely on for routine diagnostics. PharmaDesign’s team, led by Matthew Coe and Hung Mach, integrated those functions for Homunculus by crafting a simple device that surrounds the chest piece of a stethoscope, providing the tool with additional functions. Yet the design itself seemed somewhat confused to Patton. “The stethoscope has a beautiful intrinsic form,” he said. “Why mess with that?” “Because we are talking about how things progress,” Selker responded. The jurors concluded that the Ready Steth, with its shape, feel, and innate efficiency, capitalized on the conventional stethoscope’s iconic quality. That said, they were especially drawn to some of the early concept sketches, which they felt better reflected the product’s heritage and intended use.

TSP6000 Turret Stock Picker
The narrow aisles and extreme heights of contemporary warehouses and distribution centers call for improved lift trucks. Designed in-house, the Crown TSP6000 meets those needs and was also reconfigured for greater flexibility and user control. The seat, for example, is easily rotated and allows the driver to stand or sit in one of four operating positions, while the motor permits 25 percent faster travel and 40 percent faster lift speeds. Jurors praised the ergonomic controls while also applauding the picker’s outward design. “It says, ‘I’m strong and I’m dangerous,'” said Selker. “And it still has that safety thing.” Given that all the jurors wanted to climb into the cockpit, it was a shoo-in. Ludwig declared, “It’s a technical wonder that the thing could go that high and still stand up.” Yet the jury panel qualified its appreciation by questioning the beige base. “It just disturbs me,” said Patton.

LED Pedestrian Luminaire
Patton described the “serenity component” as a feature that appeals to him. “It’s not just in medical equipment. In architecture and in all of design, I gravitate toward simple things,” he said. “The clutter and visual dissonance of our world makes me do that.” A case in point was the minimalism and clarity of this exterior lighting system designed in-house by Philips for shopping areas, parking lots, and anywhere else pedestrian lighting is needed. The squared mast and graceful bend of the luminaire are elegant solutions for the durability and longevity required of outdoor installations. Although jurors questioned whether LEDs are the best source for illumination, they nonetheless found this lamp a welcome respite from the visual confusion of so many urban environments.

Quantum 6000 Power Chair
Wheelchairs are a category of equipment that could benefit from “cool”-a quality held, the jurors agreed, by the all-terrain power chair designed by Paul Taylor, director of product design for the Exeter, Pennsylvania-based Pride Mobility Products. Maneuverability, along with six-wheel stability and a suspension system that allows the chair to negotiate curbs, greater inclines, and uneven and unpredictable terrain, all set a new standard and did so without looking clinical. The chair is also outfitted with a powerful motor efficiently located in the front of the base for easy service, so the user isn’t forced to sit elsewhere during maintenance. Still, the jurors qualified their appreciation by questioning the “obvious compromise” of the seat. “I want something more human-centered,” Ludwig commented.

Flip-Up Cooktop
By flipping up after use to a vertical position, the cooktop designed by Nico Moretto of Alpes-Inox, a kitchen-equipment maker based in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, rethinks the prized real estate of the kitchen counter. Meant for very small apartments, the unit comes in models with two to six burners and can be installed over existing countertops without the need for cutouts. The jurors cited it for being modular, compact, and flexible. Most of all, as Ludwig said, “It has the intrigue of kinetic things, and whether it is the right solution or not, it gets people to think about the everyday in new ways.”

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