IDEA Design Awards: Stuff For GeekDads Included

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What do dusty old perambulators and modern design have in common? The Industrial Design Society of America’s International Design Excellence Awards (that’s IDSA’s IDEAs to you) has the answer, and Greg at Daddytypes says the emperor has no clothes.

First, though, I saw two GeekDad-friendly items in the IDEA award announcements I hadn’t seen before and would love to test drive. First up is the Kinetiscape, which won a Silver award in the Student Design category – photo and description of this pretty clever playscape, plus a peripheral I can’t wait to get my hands on, after the jump.

Strip out all of the educational puffery from the Business Week description of the Kinetiscape and you have a jungle gym that slowly spins in response to kids’ movements. Cool!

Kinetiscape offers a unique playscape experience that connects imaginative play, exploration and cognitive development. It challenges children to make discoveries in their environment and within themselves and provides the feel of an organic, growing environment. A governor underneath utilizes weights and centripetal force to make it safe to spin without fear of moving too fast. Because it is flush to the ground, there’s no danger of kids missing a step or getting an arm or leg trapped. Children have complete freedom to slide down, climb up or take cover underneath the playscape. [Link]

Yes, it bears all the telltale signs of contributor Brian Little’s
apocalyptic take on the world of contemporary playground equipment.
But hey, I bet a kid could get hurt on this thing if they really tried, right?

Second is Belkin’s Rockstar, an audio interchange for your computer. The Rockstar connects up to six devices using ports that will register either as input or output, depending on what’s plugged into it – speakers, headphones, microphones, instruments, or portable audio devices. Sweeter still, it’s under $20 – $16 and change on Amazon. We have a lot of Belkin gear in our home, most of it purchased because it was clearly the best product in a given category for a given price point at whatever big-box retailer we were stuck shopping at, only to realize they were all Belkin.

It looks fun, simple, and innovative – although apparently lime green is the new color requirement for fun, simple and innovative technology products. Thanks a lot, OLPC. Ah, well, it’s no worse than the orange it replaced.

Daddytypes sounded off on the ISDA committee’s fawning over the Wiegen Stroller concept:

Wiegen_stroller_conceptWiegen_stroller_conceptI like a slick rendering as much as the next guy, but the Wiegen didn’t seem to actually break any new ground, or even to do the basic job it’s designed for very well. There’s no storage; the wheels don’t turn – it’s not even technically a stroller, but a pram – the fold only make the thing slightly lower, not actually smaller. All they really seemed to be doing was remaking an antique design in Bugaboo materials. Big whoop. And yet, to hear Worrell and Clements talk about it, you’d think they invented human reproduction itself. [Link]

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