In summary

  • Swinburne researchers, designers and engineers have taken home six Good Design awards
  • The award-winning  submissions include a plastic-free floating wetland, an exhibition designed to stop period shame, an interactive STEM classroom in a box, a revolutionary soft silicone cushion for breast pumps, and a smart device that supports the management of Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • The Good Design Awards are one of the country’s highest design honours and recognise design that improves wellbeing and creates a better and more sustainable world

Design can be transformative. It has the power to improve our quality of life and to create a better and more sustainable world.

Leading Swinburne design researchers and engineers have proven their ability to achieve all of those things, by being recognised at the 2021 Good Design Awards for their outstanding contributions to design.

From a record 930 submissions to this year’s awards, Swinburne entrants took home six Good Design awards. Three of those were highly-coveted golds.

Their recognition is proof that the design-led solutions and entrepreneurial and technology-infused thinking proffered by Swinburne researchers, designers and engineers is creating a better tomorrow – right this very second.  

Mushi: a plastic-free solution to floating wetlands 

A collaboration between Swinburne, Arup and Studio Edwards has won gold in the Design Research category for their project, Mushi (pronounced Moo-shi).

Swinburne’s Architectural design lecturer Canhui Chen, architectural engineering lecturer Daniel Prohasky and research assistant Joshua Salisbury-Carter were part of the award-winning team.

Floating wetlands are designed to create healthy waterways and environments. The problem is, they’re normally made out of plastic. That plastic degrades, contaminates bioecology and eventually ends up as waste.

Mushi aims to change that. It’s the first wetland made completely out of biomaterials, meaning it’s one hundred per cent biocompatible.

Prototyped and manufactured in Swinburne’s ProtoLAB, Mushi takes the form of three floating, interlocking triangular-shaped mycelium (the roots of funghi) modules.

Read more about Waterfront: Mushi on Good Design Australia. 

Sanitary Secrets Exhibition aims to stop shame – period

Lecturer in communication design and course director for Swinburne’s Master of Design, Dr Jane Connory won gold for Design Excellence in the Communication Design category for her ‘Sanitary Secrets’ exhibition. 

The Sanitary Secrets exhibition and catalogue showcased 100 period product ads that were printed in Australian women’s magazines from 1920 to 2020.

It was curated to question how communication design can perpetuate or diminish period stigma and to question a designer’s ethical obligation to challenge harmful norms.

The Good Design Awards Jury praised Dr Connory’s exhibition for being important and timely.

‘The design team has used clever design codes - directly targeting visual communicators that will help drive change. The Jury believes this project has the potential to make a significant positive impact on society. Well done.’

Discover more about the Sanitary Secrets Exhibition on Good Design Australia. 

Best in classroom in a box 

Swinburne researcher Fabian Schneider and Dr Gregory Quinn (formerly Swinburne) took out gold in the Product (Medical and Scientific) category for Grasp IT and also won an award in the Engineering category. 

Grasp IT is a STEM classroom in a box.

Grasp IT is a concept that embodies Swinburne’s own ethos of learning by doing. By combining touch, active play and digital augmentation into one handy device, it’s a STEM learning game-changer. 

Digital augmentation makes the invisible visible. Force and electric current are projected in real-time response to how the user is manipulating the structure.

The result is a revolutionary learning tool that makes learning in science and engineering more effective, accessible and fun.

Learn more about Grasp IT on Good Design Australia. 

Milkdrop engineers comfy breasts for women the world over 

Can an engineer engineer comfier breasts? When it comes to expressing milk, the answer is: yes.

Swinburne 2019 Venture Cup winner and 2020 Accelerator Program participant Milkdrop has taken out a Good Design award under the Product (Medical and Scientific) category. 

Founder Alexandra Sinickas came up with the idea for Milkdrop after her own uncomfortable experience expressing milk for her daughter. As an engineer, she knew there had to be a better solution.

Working with Swinburne Design Technical Officer Ravi Bessabava and Architecture’s ProtoLAB and Lecturer in Architectural Engineering, Daniel Prohasky, the team (which included Alexandra’s medical doctor husband) created a prototype of the breast pump cushion, designed on the physiology of a baby suckling. The outcome was the Milkdrop Breast Pump Cushion – a soft silicone cushion that can be attached to existing breast pump heads.

Find out more about Milkdrop Breast Pump Cushion on Good Design Australia.  

Next gen products to empower people with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Globally, one in every 59 people is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). People with ASD may experience a limited capacity for self-regulation and this can restrict their participation in important parts of life, such as employment, education and recreation. E.Cue, which aims to change that, has recently won a Good Design Award in the Next Gen Product category.

The product has many sensory features, like a tactile surface for sensory soothing, all designed to reflect the needs of the user.

Designed by Swinburne product design engineering graduate Chloe Leigh-Smith, E.Cue is a smart device that provides continuous monitoring and detects and alerts users to changes in their emotional state. Changes are detected through embedded biofeedback sensors. After it detects a change, an interfacing app supports the individual to manage these changes through the technique of self-regulation.

Discover more about E.Cue on Good Design Awards. 

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