A computer game controller for disabled children has beaten a kamodo fishing kayak, a Robocop-like police helmet and an artificial coral reef system to win the top gong at the Hills Young Australian design awards.
The Novel Computer Game Controller, designed by South Australian young designer Max Hughes in collaboration with Flinders University and the University of South Australia, can improve the hand and arm function of children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, as well as their sense of touch.
Hughes will receive $10,000 in prize money and support to convert his invention into a commercial venture.
The Forcite police police, designed by UNSW student Alfred Boyadagis, won the Hills Design Technology Award($5,000).
The helmet system provides officers with enhanced communication abilities, active footage streaming and number plate recognition which are all displayed in the head up display of the helmet.
This technology allows motorcycle officers who are often first on the scene in congested CBD areas all over the world to properly respond to emergency situation.
The Kamodo Fishing Kayak, Designed by Andrew Godin of Clayton, Victoria, won the Hills Design Innovation Award ($5,000).
The Kamodo is a high performance product for the avid kayak fisherman.
It uses modern materials to deliver a product which is almost half the weight of existing plastic alternatives.
A key feature is the octagonal joiner which allows for easy attachment and rotation of the users equipment (fishing pole holders etc).
The system is also designed to tap into the DIY fabrication culture of kayak fishing by allowing users to download expirable G-Codes online, 3D print, and even design parts at home to fit to Kamodo.
The Modular Artificial Reef Structure, designed by Alex Goad of Brighton, Victoria won the Hills Sustainability Award ($5,000).
It acts as a modular skeleton, mimicking the height, width and complexity of natural reef environments.
It can be laid on the seabed to combat coral bleaching, transplant corals,
Hills Ltd CEO Ted Pretty said he was delighted the company that pioneered one of Australia's great inventions – the Hills Hoist – was supporting the design stars of tomorrow.
“The panel was extremely impressed with the ingenuity of the game controller and the opportunity it gives children with a disability to play video games when they normally wouldn’t be able to do so,” he said.
“As well as good aesthetics, the ease of use keeps the child engaged for longer which means there are potential therapeutic benefits too.”
Hughes will now be given the opportunity to work with commercial and academic experts at Hills Innovation Centres.
Pretty said the organisation had established the Lance Hill Design Centre and Hills D-Shop to drive ingenuity in Australia and bring new ideas and products to market.
"Clever ideas are not enough – young innovators need to be connected to good networking and mentoring opportunities to help them ultimately bring their product to market,” Mr Pretty said.
“That’s exactly what the Hills Innovation Centres will do. Our industry experts will be on hand to provide advice to resolve technical issues and help develop an idea into a workable commercial prototype.
“At Hills, we want to unearth and nurture the next big Australian invention that will help transform and change lives.”