Recognizing the efforts of talented international product designers has been the goal of the European Product Design (EPD) Award since the mid-1980s. The EPD awards go to individuals, teams, and companies with the best strategic thinking and imagination in product design.
The winners of this year’s awards have just been announced. The high level of innovation particularly struck the jurors in this year’s entries. From cars and 3D-printed e-bikes to communication systems and robots, winning designs offer solutions to contemporary problems while being timely, sustainable, and, most importantly, human-centered.
The jury panel once again evaluated thousands of design projects from around the world. Further, ePDA founder Hossein Farmani has reintroduced two additional and significant awards: the "Design for Humanity" and "Design Innovation of the Year" titles.
"Now more than ever, it is important that we honor and emphasize product design projects that help humanity move forward as well as those that revolutionize even the most everyday objects,” noted Farmani. “It was thrilling to see so many cutting-edge ideas from all over the world competing against each other, and I congratulate all the winners for their extraordinary works."
Here are two awards that struck us as interesting.
Emerging Product Design of the Year
The Emerging Product Design of the Year title was awarded to Lennart Blatt studying at Hochschule Für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, for providing a brilliant solution to the shortage of solar panel park technicians. Cortec (see the main photo) is a service robot that helps with solar panel parks' most significant maintenance problems, saving time and expenses, enabling solar parks to produce up to 40% more energy.
The main part of the autonomous robot is the vehicle base, where tools for various tasks can be docked. The cleaning tool, in particular, offers enormous potential for cost and resource savings.
Design Innovation of the Year
The Design Innovation of the Year title was awarded to Urwahn Engineering GmbH in Germany for their Waldwiesel bicycle, the first 3D-printed E-Gravel bike. The innovation of this design lies in its exploitation of 3D printing, proving that high-quality product manufacturing can still be modernized and made more effective.
Paired up with numerous technical refinements, such as GPS tracking, integrated LED light units and even an inconspicuously integrated powerful electric drive, makes hunting through the woods with the Waldwiesel a visual and functional pleasure.
John Blyler is a Design News senior editor, covering the electronics and advanced manufacturing spaces. With a BS in Engineering Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering, he has years of hardware-software-network systems experience as an editor and engineer within the advanced manufacturing, IoT and semiconductor industries. John has co-authored books related to system engineering and electronics for IEEE, Wiley, and Elsevier.