Each year Stratasys sponsors a contest among students to find the most fascinating and useful 3D designs. Winners of the Extreme Redesign Contest receive prints of their designs as well as scholarships - and fame, too. We always take a close look at the winners as they typically exhibit ingenious creativity.
But this year we can't.
The first place winners in the College Engineering category were Michigan's Andrew Roderick & Brian Booth. What did they design? We won't know because:
The description for this design is confidential at this time. This entry has been recommended for further examination by Edison Nation for a potential licensing agreement.
We're certain we'll see this one in the future.
Meanwhile, second place went to Sandra Wojtecki & Helena Skonieczna of Toronto, who designed a funky functional wall-mounted dish rack.
While there were many winners in other categories, we particularly liked Michigan's Josh Ryan's entry, which won first place in the Middle/High School Engineering category. His design, the Magnesium Fire Starter, completely solves the problem of weatherproof fire ignition:
The current design uses a thin piece of metal, which is stricken against a magnesium rod, to create a spark. However, this movement requires two hands, is jerky, and prone to user errors. User errors include being unable to direct sparks in the desired direction, and hitting the kindling due to the jerky movement. My product uses a lever design, which enables usage with one hand. Pushing down in one spot is all that is needed to make a spark. This action is smooth and simple, and makes it easy to direct sparks. The redesign uses a spring to maintain tight friction between the magnesium and steel. It is fully weatherproof, portable, durable, and environmentally friendly. The redesign enables users to have one hand available for tending the fire while the other is used to light it.
Invention is the future, and these students will take us there.