This week, Fast Company magazine announced the winners of its 2012 Innovation by Design Awards. Fifty-six finalists were picked from 1,700 different products, ideas and interfaces, and 11 winners were named in categories ranging from concept and student designs to consumer products and transportation. Here are some of the coolest entries:
Embrace Infant Warmer. Highlighted in a recent post, the Embrace infant warmer was the winner in the Industrial Equipment category. The $200 Embrace is a portable incubator that looks like a tiny sleeping bag. It has a removable sheet of Paraffin wax which can be melted with an electrical charge or by simply pouring boiling water over it. A 30-minute charge provides six hours of lifesaving warmth to premature babies who find it difficult to retain body heat.
The average cost of an incubator—$20,000—is prohibitive for many third-world regions. The Embrace infant warmer has proven to be an invaluable tool for poorer rural communities where mothers and newborns often have no immediate access to well-equipped hospitals.
BioLite Campstove. Winner in the Consumer Products category was the BioLite Campstove, which—as the name suggests—burns with twigs and bark. It’s a green alternative eliminating the need for heavy and expensive petroleum gas canisters. The stove weighs only 33oz. It can also charge your iPhone by converting heat from the fire into usable electricity.
The stove can boil one cup of water in just over two minutes while recharging 1 percent of an iPhone’s battery for every 2.5 minutes it’s plugged in. Running the stove from eight to 30 minutes gives you enough juice to last until the next meal.
The interior chamber of the stove is made of high-temperature steel and it’s surrounded by a honeycomb-patterned steel mesh so you can pick it up once it gets hot. For stability, the stove has three extendable legs made out of solid but lightweight anodized aluminum.
The BioLite Campstove also has a fan—powered by thermoelectricity—which makes the fire stronger and more efficient. The fan is detachable for easy storage.
Fisker Karma Electric Car. Winner in the Transportation category was the Fisker Karma, a plug-in electric car utilizing solar panels and sporting interior trim made from salvaged California wildfire hardwood. The Karma’s aluminum skin is finished with a solar-cell roof and the interiors are animal-free high-end textiles and faux suede.
Nike+ Fuelband. This fuelband was the Business Impact winner. The ergonomic Nike+ FuelBand captures and displays four different metrics: time, calories, steps and NikeFuel—a measurement of your athletic activity.
NikeFuel algorithms are based on oxygen kinetics rather than calorie count alone. A built-in three-axis accelerometer measures your motion and translates it into NikeFuel, and as you move closer to your goal, the band’s series of 20 LED lights go from red to green. The band provides encouragement and motivation as you hit and exceed your goals and allows you to compete with other athletes of all levels in most activities.
Photo courtesy of Embrace