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Shanghai Daily: Prosthetic hand, Chinese Braille designers walk away with top awards
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Edited BY:Fang Shuaiyin

The two winners of the Design Intelligence Awards received 1 million yuan (US$139, 969) each on December 15.

This year's competition attracted over 7,000 entries from 41 countries and regions. Overseas projects accounted for 43 percent of all projects. The top 30 finalists represented a diverse range of industries, including artificial intelligence, healthcare, environmental protection, cars, furniture and toys.

"DIA never charges an admission fee in order to provide more opportunities for startups and young designers," said Lu Tao, secretary general of the organization committee.

"The prizewinners can exemplify DIA's evaluation standards and ideals."

Texas-based BrainRobotics Company's bionic hand won the top prize.

The BrainRobotics prosthetic hand allows upper-limb users to use muscle impulses to control a bionic hand.

It has 10 joints, a powered thumb, 14 grips and movable digits. The thumb has two high-precision micro-motors, while the other four fingers have one. With its high-precision turbine shaft and grip power, the motor supports the movement of digits.

The company makes bionic hands using aviation-grade aluminum alloy and food-grade plastic. An implanted electrode system controls the hand using forearm electromyography signals.

The first Chinese braille phonetic custom font by Alibaba Health Design, which is free for use, was another winner.

More than 6,000 common Chinese characters are in it. By simply typing in pinyin, it can generate corresponding braille.

According to 2010 China Disabled Persons' Federation, there are about 12.6 million visually impaired people in the country. Lack of special schools prevents most of them from learning braille. Alibaba's product makes braille accessible to them.

Now, companies can print braille on their packages, which can make life easier for visually challenged people.

Many modern designs have rarely taken blind people into consideration, widening the digital divide. Alibaba's design narrows the gap between society and vulnerable groups.

Tencent, Honeywell, Emissive, and Hakuhodu Kettle designers also showcased their creativity, wisdom, and innovation at this year's competition.

"Yangtze Delta is an industrial design agglomeration with top AI, digital, Internet and talent resources," said Gao Shiming, president of the China Academy of Art. "DIA has boosted industrial agglomeration and will continue to study this subject."

The China Academy of Art and the Zhejiang government founded the DIA in 2015 to promote industrial design and talent development. The organizing committee intends to commercialize promising domestic and international projects. The competition is regarded as "the Oscar of the industrial design domain."

"If you ask me to pick a prizewinning project to represent the organization committee's evaluation standards, I will select the Fotile dishwasher without hesitation," Lu told Shanghai Daily.

The Fotile Sink/Dish Washer, which was exclusively designed for the Chinese market, won first place in the 2016 DIA competition.

Chinese families rarely use dishwashers since their culinary tradition favors bowls over plates and their food is more oily. Fotile designed a deep sink that can be converted into a washing machine for both tableware and fruits and vegetables. The washer also aids in the removal of pesticides from vegetables and fruits.

"Fotile has updated the dishwasher three times in eight years, bringing a total revenue of 10 billion yuan. That is the DIA's authority. It assists promising projects in finding a market and investment," Lu explained.

Source: Shanghai Daily