Logitech iO 2 PenLogitech’s iO 2 Pen allows you to write in ink on paper while a tiny camera and memory chip stores up to 40 pages for conversion into Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Lotus Notes. Accompanying software “learns” your handwriting and converts it to digital text. The iO 2 feels and writes like a slightly larger version of a standard pen and fits into a USB cradle for transferring text or graphics to a computer. A pair of LED indicators tells how much battery power and memory remain. “It’s beautifully designed, elegant, and innovative,” Ruggiero said, though the jurors found the cradle a bit too lightweight. Ruggiero’s wish for the next generation: a pen with a port on the end that plugs directly into a computer.
Design Design Partners (Bray, Ireland): Mathew Bates, principal, industrial designer; Peter Sheehan, director, industrial designer; Diarmuid MacMahon, director, industrial designer; Stephen Montgomery, design engineer
Client Logitech (Fremont, CA)Materials PC; ABS; SantopreneSoftware ProEngineer
Origarment ShoeIs it a prototype or product? No matter. This shoe has ingenuity—it comes flat and packs easily. You zip the two-dimensional form together to bring it to life. The designer, Marie O’Connor, added Braille lettering to the bottom both as a “hidden message” and as a grip for footing. “It’s really sweet. The functionality, borrowed from origami and translated into a shoe, is unique,” Boym said, adding that she wished the larger shoe companies would sit up and take notice. Ruggiero praised the shoe’s elegance, but suspected that they would “kill your feet” and may let water through to the skin. Weeks said he could live with the limitations: “I’ll just wear them around the house,” he said.
Design Marie O’Connor (London)Client Evisu (London)Materials Leather; rubber; screen-printed satin; zipper; card; die-cut foam; elastic; nylonSoftware Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop
Fusion Snowboard BindingsBurton’s new Fusion bindings merge the structural authority of conventional strap bindings with the ease of step-in versions, which are generally seen as inferior. Weeks appreciated that the binding’s complexity was handled with relative economy: An aluminum subframe and ankle straps that affix to the boots engage and disengage quickly from the base plate with the release of a lever—and the subframe’s bottom is designed for maximum traction to steady the wearer. Die-hard strap-on fans can loosen the buckles the way they normally do. “The stitched leather detail is nice,” Boym said. “It has so many different visual languages—and all that metal.”
Design Burton Snowboards (Burlington, VT): Bryan Davis, design manager, hardgoods: bindings; Doug Poscich, R&D manager; Chris Doyle, functional lab technician; Mark Busse, design engineer; Scott Keller, design engineerClient Burton SnowboardsMaterials Polycarbonate; nylon; aluminumSoftware Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; ProEngineer
Skylon Flight HeadphonesThese headphones feel so refined that they nearly qualify as jewelry. “Now, this is the new cleanness,” Boym said. The headphones contain Neodymium drivers housed in metal to allow higher high notes and deeper bass thumps. The sleek rubber clip helps them conform to any size ear and survive the jarring impact of sports. “They don’t feel throwaway,” Weeks noted. “And other places you’re spending, like, $80 on these things.” The price of these headphones? Just $50.”
Design Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, OR): Ed Boyd, creative director/industrial designer; Steve Berry, mechanical engineer; Stefan Andren, industrial designer; Dave Young, art director; Megan Chouinard, graphic designer; Greg Vissia, product managerClient Nike-PhilipsMaterials Thermoplastic polyurethane; electroplated polycarbonateSoftware Adobe Illustrator 10; Alias; ProEngineer
Initech Geologic BowDecathlon’s new bow won Boym’s heart at first sight. “It’s such an unusual typology, and I love that people are looking at this as a mainstream sport,” she said. The main material, polyamide, allows molding of the grips as a single piece while furnishing wide openings. It also makes this version less expensive than metal bows. Boym believed that the relatively low price of $79 pushes the design into the realm of greatness—she proposed it for the Best of Category award. And though Ruggiero suggested that $79 constitutes a price point, not a design element, she argued that the design made the price possible. “I’m buying it,” said Boym, who has a thing for archery. And then she changed her mind: “I’m buying two.”
Design Nicolas Hamoignon, Decathlon (Villeneuve D’ascq, France)Client DecathlonMaterials Polyamide with 30 percent glass fiber; overmolded metallic insertsSoftware Alias Studio
Swift Strapless/Interchange Swim GoggleThe strap and nose bridge of competition goggles are two of the greatest sources of underwater drag for swimmers. With its Swift Strapless/Interchange swim goggle, Nike eliminates the strap and nose completely. Swimmers move more rapidly because the goggles streamline the eye socket with lenses of polished polycarbonate, a material that slides through water faster than skin. The goggles stick to the head with a double-sided, medical-grade adhesive that resists the forces of the swimmer’s dive and holds fast during thrusts through the water. And they are shallower than previous versions to reduce the surface area perpendicular to the direction of the water flow. A secondary peripheral lens widens the viewing angle by 40 degrees and promises less optical distortion. “It’s a good marriage of technology and performance,” Ruggiero said.
Design Nike, Inc. (Beaverton, OR): Rob Bruce, creative director; Dylan Van Atta, CAD designerClient Nike, Inc.Materials Polycarbonate; latex; medical adhesiveSoftware Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; Alias
Magnifik Magnetic Silicone TrivetImagine—a trivet with ears. Better yet, a trivet that sticks to the fridge and also to the bottoms of metal cookware. The heat-resistant silicone Magnifik trivet has five embedded neodyme magnets that fasten under skillets or saucepans, allowing cookware to be carried from kitchen to table. This innovation was inspired by energy-efficient induction-heated stovetops requiring magnetic metal pans to produce warmth. The ears on either side make the trivet easy to see and grab. “It’s full of goodness and simplicity,” Boym said. “That’s the hallmark I’m always looking for in products.”
Design Sweedish Designstudio (Stockholm): Henrik Kjellberg, principal; Mattias LindqvistClient Ikea of Sweden (lmhult, Sweden)Materials Precut sem
itransparent silicone; injection-molded colored silicone; neodyme magnets
Lightning Ascent SnowshoeOccasionally a snowshoer needs traction as much as levitation, but the snap-on remedies of crampons, spikes, or saw blades add weight, and as snowshoers like to say: An ounce on your foot equals a pound on your back. The climber and gearhead Bill Forrest, working with Mountain Safety Research (MSR) and an orthopedic gait specialist, perfected a snowshoe with integral traction. “I love the crampon aesthetic,” Boym said. “And the detailing is really gorgeous.” Separate designs for men and women obviate the wide hip swings required with each step in conventional snowshoes—MSR’s research found that men need lighter shoes (aircraft-grade aluminum reduces the load) and women need narrower shoes with upturned heels and toes to prevent tripping. Ruggiero wondered whether the blades would wear down with age but liked how easily the shoes strap on. “It’s completely intuitive,” he said, “which is good, because nobody wants to read instructions anymore.”
Design Bill Forrest, snowshoe specialist, Mountain Safety Research in-house design (Salida, CO)Client Cascade Designs (Seattle)Materials Aircraft-grade aluminum; high-strength steel; proprietary decking and binding materialsSoftware Macromedia FreeHand 10; Rhino 3.0; SolidWorks 2004
Amsterdam BicycleWomen can call Biomega’s Amsterdam bicycle their very own. Its form, wrought of oversize aluminum tubing with an adjustable seat and handlebars, is designed to keep the female body upright. The bike also minimizes maintenance: The shaft-driven train eliminates all of those oily sprockets (saving your trouser legs), and the disk brake and internal consecutive gears (seven speeds) and cables protect its mechanics from the elements. Designer Jens Martin Skibsted says that the shaft drive creates less transmission loss than a standard chain. “It’s pairing an old aesthetic with a new technology,” Boym said. “It’s a very good, basic bike that doesn’t pretend to be fancy or cool.” A men’s version has been designed almost as an afterthought.
Design Jens Martin Skibsted, creative director, Biomega Philosophy APS (Copenhagen) Client Biomega Philosophy APSClient NEMO Equipment Inc.Materials Nextec Epic Fabric; Dimension-Polyant fabric; Sil-NylonSoftware Macromedia FreeHand; SolidWorks
Sako Lightweight Air-Supported TentThis backpacking tent could bring back the early space-age fascination with pneumatic architecture—on a miniature scale, where the structural handicaps are fewer. Designed by NEMO Equipment, Sako supplants traditional tent poles with two pairs of redundant “airbeams” linked internally to a single inflation and deflation valve. The one-piece tent takes 45 seconds to blow up with its integrated pump and about 10 seconds to deflate. The airbeams’ outer shell resists tearing, and the inner air bladders are replaceable. The shell consists of a silicone-infused fabric that allows ventilation while protecting the interior from moisture. “This is an idea that can be applied to a lot of other things,” Ruggiero said; he imagined a sleeping bag. Weeks found the product technologically interesting but thought North Face’s tents are more beautiful. Boym agreed: “This deserves an award,” she said, “but I wish it were better-looking.”
Design Cam Brensinger, president, NEMO Equipment Inc. (Nashua, NH)Client NEMO Equipment Inc.Materials Nextec Epic Fabric; Dimension-Polyant fabric; Sil-NylonSoftware Macromedia FreeHand; SolidWorks
Qualia 010 HeadphonesBucking the trend of miniaturization in personal audio gear, Sony’s Qualia 010 headphones are larger and more luxurious than most of the popular choices for piping sound to your brain. The set is deceptively lightweight, with a strong magnesium-based frame for the sound shell, a mesh headband stretched across a carbon-fiber armature, and baby-soft sheepskin padding the ear. At first glance, the headphones seemed “a little overdone,” Ruggiero said. But a closer look revealed a superfine synthesis of materials, form, and craft. “See that jack?” Boym observed. “The detail here is superior to anything I’ve seen today.” Weeks admired the headphones’ handcrafted quality. “That’s very rare in the market,” he said. And given the sculptural metal stand, you are not going to want to simply listen with these headphones—you’re going to want to look at them, too.
Design Satoshi Suzuki, art director, Sony Corp. (Tokyo)Client Sony Corp.Materials Magnesium-alloy; carbon fiber; sheepskinSoftware Adobe Illustrator; CADAM; FRESDAM