Uni supports Good Design awards

South Australian start-up company Prohab – and advanced manufacturer 3RT – have been awarded coveted Australian 2019 Good Design Awards for design excellence.

Both companies have collaborated with Flinders University on their award-winning products.

The Prohab Connected Healthcare Device, which won a Good Design Award for Design Excellence at the annual national awards in Sydney (11 July 2019), was designed in collaboration with Flinders University’s Associate Professor in Product Design Sandy Walker.

The device accurately measures the force-generating capability of an individual’s muscle, in order to guide and personalise prescription of exercise and rehabilitation programs.

Other experts from Flinders University’s College of Science and Engineering have collaborated with green company 3RT, which won a Gold Accolade for Design Excellence in the Product Design category, and Engineering Design award for outstanding design and innovation.

Associate Professor Sandy Walker, centre, with Prohab’s Alex Vanderzon, left, and inventor Lyndon Huf at the awards.

3RT’s solution is a safe and sustainable robotic mini-factory that uses young plantation logs to create fully recyclable ‘designer’ hardwood at a lower cost than traditional milled product.

Flinders University’s Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, with director Professor David Lewis and Associate Professor Jonathan Campbell, has worked with the company to develop its novel water-based bio-mimicking ‘nano-glue’ that replicates the natural growing process in just hours.

“Advanced robotics and Industry 4.0 smart production deliver efficient and safe wirelessly-controlled manufacturing that can create bespoke colours and grain,” says 3RT Holdings manager director Peter Torreele.

Based at the Tonsley Innovation District, Prohab CEO Lyndon Huf says the device empowers the patient to be more engaged and in control of their recovery by using real time data to allow them to monitor their rehabilitation.

“We are thrilled. This recognition greatly validates our product and we are excited this timely award aligns with our next phase of investment,” he says.

“The Prohab device motivates patients recovering from injury, by seamlessly gathering exercise data and keeping track of real-time progress, assisting medical professionals to make better treatment recommendations.”

Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia, says the judging panel said the new Prohab device’s design was extremely well resolved. “Some of the detail of the physical product were excellent and inspirational in their execution (hinge, switch detention). A clever example of good design applied to an identified user need,” he said.

3RT managing director Peter Torreele with timber prototype during early consultations with the Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Tonsley.

Flinders Associate Professor Walker says a key to design success was “using ‘Design Think’ methods to invent an all-in-one, strong but lightweight, titanium chassis, which combined the strain gauge, power switch and two clipping carabiners, into a single integrated component, which could then quickly and easily attached to resistance-bands and cable-based gym equipment”.

“I was truly inspired by Prohab’s vision for the development of a novel rehabilitation device and have been thrilled to work on this project,” Associate Professor Walker says.

Professor Karen Reynolds, Flinders University’s Dean (Research) at the College of Science and Engineering, congratulated the winners in this year’s 61st Good Design Awards.

“Flinders University is a leader in creative discovery and practical solutions, and this award is resounding acknowledgement of Associate Professors Walker’s contributions towards the development of Prohab’s device,” says Professor Reynolds, who also is director of the Medical Device Research Institute at Tonsley.

With all of the research, design, clinical trials and manufacturing for the new device done in SA, the company Prohab (initially known as Maction) was born through Flinders University’s New Venture Institute’s Venture Dorm Program, with further development with the Medical Device Partnering Program and Associate Professor Walker at Flinders University.

Prohab has since been working to refine and test the product and recently started working with the Innovative Manufacturing Accelerator 4.0 to automate and scale manufacturing.

The Good Design Awards Jury acknowledged 3RT’s: “Great design in delivering on the objectives and involving some genuine process innovations that achieve a bonding strength to match the strength of natural hardwood.”

3RT has a working production unit in Adelaide and are seeking investors to back the introduction of the technology globally, particularly for companies that use large quantities of hardwood in furniture production and high-value building materials.

Australia’s 2019 Good Design Awards attracted a record number of submissions with nearly 700 projects evaluated spanning 10 design disciplines including architecture, communication, digital, fashion, product, service, strategy, engineering and social impact.


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