Blackwood enhances its Design Awards for 2016 entries
Aspiring designers, engineers and inventors are set to battle it out in a ‘Dragons Den’ inspired event which has become a magnet for global talent.
The annual Blackwood Design Awards attract both gifted amateurs and seasoned professionals to showcase innovations to change the lives of disabled people.
Previous winners have included a spoon that doesn’t spill and an eye-controlled wheelchair. This year the competition will be made up of two distinct categories – Best New Product and Best New Concept.
Colin Foskett, head of innovation at Blackwood, believes the move will double the chances to identify and champion breakthroughs that improve life for those with physical or mental disabilities.
He said: “We’ve been delighted with the way the annual awards have caught the imagination and developed into an important way to bring through genuinely revolutionary and life changing products.
“By adding the additional category for this year’s competition, we are aiming to support, and promote even more new design talent. Some of the designs we have previously seen are revolutionary and have benefited the lives of many others, and we expect this year’s designs to be no different.”
The most keenly contested category will remain ‘Best New Concept’, inviting inventors and developers to come forward with ideas that are not yet readily available. With £2000 up for grabs from sponsor Kingdom Gas, the lucky winner has a real chance of helping see their concept become a reality.
4c Design, one of Scotland’s top product design companies – who famously designed the Queen’s Baton for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games – will also provide some professional support and guidance on design development.
Other benefits for the winning entries will include support from business law experts, Harper MacLeod, as well as product and development support from the team at Blackwood, Scotland’s leading experts in deploying technology to enhance care and housing.
The ‘Best New Product’ category will seek entries that are finalised concepts and are commercially available and could help niche or struggling products to breakthrough to a much wider audience.
Colin Foskett added: “At Blackwood, our aim is to enable our customers and tenants to live their lives to the full and by investing in future technologies and equipment we believe we are successfully able to do this.
“Many previous entrants have gone on to achieve great things so it is definitely a worthwhile opportunity for all budding designers out there.”
Last year, ingenious entries included a hands-free computer mouse and an in-flight wheelchair. However, a spoon that doesn’t spill was crowned the winner, bringing benefits for people with cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and other conditions which cause shaking.
The competition has built a reputation of enabling great success for winners, and entries now frequently come in from all over the globe, including Canada and Pakistan.
Blackwood has been a leading name for 40 years in the housing and care sector, operating all across Scotland and is renowned for its work in adapting properties to let people who are disabled, elderly or have sensory impairments, to live independently.
The competition is now open. For details on how to enter, click here.