A Toronto-based designer placed 3rd in a Microsoft sponsored design competition. Kenneth W.K. Wu, creative director for Dymaxium, won third place out of 349 submissions for his Zeed+ for the Future.
“The overall design concept is inspired by “Ikebana”, the Japanese traditional art of formal flower arrangement devoted to balance, harmony, and form. With the Zeed+ PC, each stem-shaped hardware unit has its own height, shape and character to reflect its function and they sit in a base that resembles a flower vase. Users simply touch the vase base to operate the computer, play movies or music, surf the Internet and check personal emails. The computer, which resembles a stylized floral arrangement, can be placed in either a workstation or family room to provide both aesthetic enjoyment and powerful computing functionality.”
Carleton University Industrial Design professor Jim Budd had 5, that’s right five, student projects included in the 34 finalists. Almost 15% of the finalists in the competition were from a Canadian school. Carleton has a strong reputation in design and human-computer interation. The HOTLab is home to Gitte Lindgaard who wrote a usability testing books I used, Usability Testing and System Evaluation: A Guide for Designing Useful Computing Systems, which covered a lot of rigorous, systematic usability testing methods. It is a great book.
“Of the 15 teams from Budd’s class that created a design for the competition, 10 went on to submit their designs, five of the teams were among the 34 finalists, and two were selected among the eight finalists. The first-place Judges Award went to three of Budd's students for their design blok.”
I’m going to have to head to Ottawa at some point and meet Jim and his class. Yay, these are additional examples of Canadians doing innovative design.