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IHA’s Student Design Competition winners to showcase at The Inspired Home Show

Six inventions  which support happy and healthy homes secured top prizes in the 31st annual competition.

This year, IHA received a record-breaking 358 entries from 31 schools around the world. The winning products included an ultrasonic thawing device for quick and safe meat thawing; a light therapy lamp for people with SAD; a wobbling plant holder designed to improve mental health and plant health; a combined air filtration and vacuum appliance; a rainwater recycling system; and a tooth-brushing companion for kids.

The competition challenges college students to redesign an existing housewares product to meet the needs of the future, or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production, marketing principles and quality of entry materials.

Since 1993, over 6,900 entries have been submitted to the rigorous competition, which honours excellent design and communication skills. Past winners have launched careers in the housewares and design industries, with some returning to judge other student contestants.

The winning students and their products will be on display during The Inspired Home Show 2024 from 17-19 March at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

First place this year went to Alex Orelind from Western Washington University, winning $3,500. His entry – SONA – is an ultrasonic meat-thawing chamber with a cloche-like construction. The lid uses heat generating, high frequency sound waves to ensure uniform, safe and efficient thawing of frozen meat.

The judges said SONA was a testament to both creativity and thoroughness in design. They noted its simple yet effective approach, addressing a common problem.

Second place was awarded to William Harrison Huth, winning £2,500 for Ease – a light therapy lamp that help people treat seasonal affective disorder without compromising aesthetic design. Fully wireless, the halo light can be removed from its magnetic base and taken anywhere.

Four products earned third place and $1,500 each. Wobble by Carl Sabroff at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, is a wobbling indoor plant pot, designed to serve as a fidget toy to encourage interaction between plant and owner.

The Mode, from Alexander Mossdorf, at Carleton University, is an air-quality appliance with both air filtration and vacuuming capabilities.

Rain Recycle by Luke Kauranen at Western Michigan University, is a user-friendly rainwater collecting system, which promotes sustainable water use, specifically in dwellings that lack roof or gutter access.

Swishy, from Julia Cutajar, at the University of Notre Dame, is a whale-shaped tooth brushing companion which engages kids in proper toothbrushing.


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