This year’s Australian International Design Award winner is in…

The top spot in this year’s Australian International Design Awards has been taken out by New Zealand-based company, Howard Wright, for an innovative care bed design.

A critical care bed, with the potential to be used in an aged care facility for residents with high care needs, has taken out the top prize in the 2010 Australian International Design Awards.

Designed and manufactured by New Zealand-based company, Howard Wright, the M8 Intensive Care bed reduces patient handling and allows for a wide range of medical procedures to be performed while the patient remains in the same bed.

Program director of the awards, Stephanie Pemberton, said that the bed’s innovative design won the award because it met and exceeded the standards set by Standards Australia.

“The beauty of this product is its functionality,” said Ms Pemberton.

“It’s quite simple in operations so you can easily find it in an aged care facility. The cost is quite attractive for mass production and it is accessible to all Australians.”

The product features a fully radiolucent deck and a specific twin-column asymmetric base, enabling X-ray and image intensifier use while the patient remains in bed. It is constructed from steel, aluminium and a range of high performance recyclable plastics.

“The bed is extremely simple to use,” she said. “It uses simple semantics and systems that can be understood by a five or 90 year old. The buttons are non-intimidating and it is not cold like a traditional hospital bed.”

“It has been cleverly designed to be soft to touch. If you put the surface under a microscope, you would see that the cleverly designed mouldings are rubberised.

“The colour scheme is neutral so it is not specifically for a younger audience. They kept with the traditions and confines of the health care system but it is suitable for all ages, and definitely not intimidating for older age groups.

CEO of Howard Wright, Bruce Moller, said the win was a real thrill for the company and a great surprise.

“We have been on a program of integrated design in our business now for over five years now and it feels really good to get external confirmation that we are on the right track,” said Mr Moller.

Mr Moller said that the bed was created according to the “simple, smart and human” elements of design.

“This acts as a design filter for what we do. I guess our design team spent a lot of time observing current care practices and products to examine how to make care simpler. The bed has a practical use and an elegant design that incorporates technology in a useful way.

“The key thing [to design] is walking in the shoes of clinicians, and learning and seeing opportunities for improving products.”

Tags: aged, australian, awards, care, design, internation,

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