The €500,000 INDEX: Award is the world's biggest design prize - and this week the purse will be awarded to 5 brilliant designs that seek to improve life! From a terrarium for growing edible bugs to an app that detects skin cancer and a robotic exoskeleton that enables the disabled to walk again, this year's 60 finalists push the boundaries of design to address social, environmental, and humanitarian issues. We've rounded up 10 of the most groundbreaking designs below, and Inhabitat has been invited to Copenhagen by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to report live on the ceremony this Thursday - so stay tuned as we bring you the grand prize winners of the 2013 INDEX: Award!
As the world’s population expands and resources for producing food become scarce, the World Health Organization thinks that we could all do with more insects in our diets. Mansour Oursanah’s Lepsis is a streamlined terrarium that makes it easy to grow edible insects like grasshoppers right on your kitchen counter.
Massoud Hassani’s Mine Kafon is a wind-propelled device designed to save lives by detonating unexploded landmines leftover from military conflicts. Hassani was inspired by childhood toys when designing the device, which uses a GPS sensor to keep track of safe paths through dangerous territory.
In the US alone there are 1.3 million people afflicted with paralysis due to neurological disease or spinal cord injuries. Fortunately, Ekso Bionics has created a battery-powered bionic exoskeleton that allows the disabled to walk again. The life-changing device is essentially a wearable robot that uses sensors to aid in balance and provide mobility.
What if your cell phone could detect skin cancer? With the SkinVision smartphone app, it can! This clever app transforms any any smartphone into a medical scanner by using a proprietary mathematical algorithm to calculate the fractal dimension of skin lesions and surrounding skin tissue. If a mole or lesion looks irregular, the app alerts the user to visit a medical professional.
There are over 1.6 billion people in the world without access to electricity, and many rely on dangerous kerosene lamps to light up the night once the sun sets. D.light’s S1 solar led lamp is designed to provide a clean, safe, and renewable light source for those without access to grid-based electricity.
Most prosthetic limbs are one-size-fits-all, but Bespoke Fairings uses 3d printing technology to create stunning custom-fit prosthetic limbs. The company offers an online tool that allows users to design unique prosthetic limbs with patterns, “tattoos”, and a wide range of materials.
What if building your dream house was as easy as snapping together a bunch of LEGO bricks? That’s the idea behind Facit Homes’ D-Process building system, which uses a high-tech machine to turn 3D computer models into physical components that can be quickly fitted together on-site. The process minimizes costs and material waste, and the homes have a very tight thermal envelope, which minimizes heat loss and energy use.
According to the UN, 2.5 billion people throughout the world live without access to basic sanitary facilities, and diseases caused by waterborne pathogens add up to 1.5 million preventable deaths every year. To combat the spread of sanitation-related diseases, Design Without Borders created an ecological urinal for the slums of Uganda that is made from readily available materials and only costs $3. Best of all, waste collected in the urinal can be refined into a high quality fertilizer using a simple process.
Roskilde’s Rabalder Park is prone to flooding, so architecture firm Nordarch designed an awesome skate park that doubles as a rainwater harvesting system capable of storing 10 swimming pools worth of H2O! The entire park is integrated into the city’s canal system, so it can direct rainwater runoff into an adjacent lake for storage.
Even though consumers are increasingly aware of the problem of e-waste, it’s not always easy to find places to properly dispose of outdated technology. (Who doesn’t have a box of cables and gadgets collecting dust in the closet?) The EcoATM is an accessible recycling kiosk that aims to incentivize electronics recycling by dispensing cash in exchange for unwanted gadgets.