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Sportsman’s Massage Table Wins Design Award

26 June, 2008

Sportsman’s Massage Table Wins Annual Dyson Product Design Award

Alexander Wastney, a 22 year old professional basketballer and industrial designer, has won the eighth annual Dyson Product Design Award at an award ceremony held in Auckland.

His product design is a sports therapy table designed for professional sports teams, which can be compacted into a durable suitcase on wheels.

A professional basketballer and frequent sports massage recipient, Alexander’s inspiration for his design came as a result of feedback from his physio who had complained about existing designs being heavy, cumbersome, and uncomfortable to carry and lie on.

Alexander, who lives in New Plymouth, says he drew on his own involvement in professional sport to design the table.

“My design was motivated by an experience of being treated for a calf tear and while I was lying on top of the massage table - which wasn’t customized for sports massage because it was a beauty massage table – I found myself sliding across the basketball court’s wooden floor because there was no stability!” he said.

The Massey University industrial design graduate says while he has researched the marketplace and produced a prototype and applied for a patent, the product is at concept stage only, and he would welcome an opportunity to commercialise his design.

In a public poll held on, the design was also crowned the People’s Choice, after being voted the favourite Dyson Award finalist.

Open to final year design and engineering students and recent graduates, the Dyson Product Design Award recognises emerging designers whose work demonstrates the ability to think differently and create products that solve problems and work better than existing products.

The judges, headed by designer David Lovegrove, product representative for the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand, said that Alexander’s design reflected the Award criteria and the Dyson philosophy, which is simply, about making products work better.

“This year we’ve reached a new level in the quality of products being judged. As a result it has been a lot tougher to judge because the designers have all exhibited a design maturity beyond their years. People often talk about the Kiwi number eight wire mentality; while all four finalists reflect this unique Kiwi approach, they go way beyond it to deliver intelligent products which are also commercially viable,” he said.

David said the award winning product stood out for its commercial appeal and also its far reaching benefits.

“Alexander’s design really stood out due to the huge benefits it offered users. Not just sports physiotherapists and the athletes, but sports team franchises, team support staff – even airport baggage handlers.

“He has conducted significant research, and was able to bring considerable user insight into the design process – being a professional sportsman himself. He has cleverly introduced a dynamic and sports aesthetic to the product – reflecting the investment by sports franchises in their athletes,” said David.

The three other finalists were all Massey University design graduates – Kent Hodgson designed a beverage cooler that can rapidly chill beer in moments, Matt McKinley is the engineer behind a farmer’s mobile sheep testing station, and Iain Tolladay invented a back pack harness which can be worn by hunters to carry wild pigs out of the bush with ease.

Alexander was also named a British Council New Zealand Design Ambassador, and will travel to the UK with $3,000 traveling expenses and accommodation, have the opportunity to tour Dyson’s world class Research, Design and Development facility, and meet with other key members of the UK design community. Plus, he can select an official fee prize package from the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ) tailored to their design’s intellectual property needs, $3,000 worth of legal advice provided by Farry.Co Law, they’ll receive a Dyson vacuum cleaner, a year’s membership to the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand (DINZ), and an invitation to join the D&AD Talentpool – an online database of international design talent.

The runner up, Iain Tolladay, will be sponsored by British Council New Zealand and travel to Hong Kong in August to compete in the global 48 hour design challenge.

The Dyson Award was set up in 2001 by Avery Robinson, the distributors of Dyson in New Zealand. It is hosted in association with the British Council New Zealand, DINZ, Farry.Co Law and IPONZ to recognise and reward up and coming Kiwi designers with product design ideas that best demonstrate innovative and inspiring solutions to everyday problems.

Says James Dyson, engineer and inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner:

"The beauty of an education in engineering is that it isn't all about theory, it's about getting stuck in, rolling up your sleeves and making things. Things that could change the world.” -ends-


Iain Tolladay, a 23 year old Massey University design graduate, lives in Ahipara in Northland. He is a keen hunter and Iain’s enjoyment for the sport motivated him to design a ‘back pack’ harness which can carry large wild game carcasses up to 100 kilograms in weight. The innovative design uses hiking pack principles, distributing the weight of the carcass on to the user’s hips, giving a more ergonomic and comfortable carrying position. Current carrying techniques can cause neck and back strain and can result in severe long term injury.

Kent Hodgson is a 22 year old Massey University Auckland industrial design graduate who invented a beverage cooling system designed to rapidly lower the temperature of a drink in moments, and without the aid of a power source it has energy saving advantages. His design works by converting liquid carbon dioxide contained in an ‘ice stick’ into dry ice for cooling bottled drinks. Kent lives in Devonport, Auckland.

Matt McKinley, a 22 year old Wellingtonian, is a Masters student of Industrial Design at Massey University. He has designed a mobile sheep testing station for farmers to scan pregnant ewes. The son of a Havelock North vet, Matt grew up accompanying his father to farm call outs, and saw first hand the practice of pregnancy testing with ultrasound or ‘scanning’ to inform farm owners of whether their ewes are carrying lambs. Scanning is labour and time intensive and current equipment is neither ergonomic nor portable. The mobile testing station is designed to be easily transported as a flat pack and used by vets, or utilised modularly by farmers for drafting, crutching and weighing. Matt lives in Miramar.

Note to editor: The Dyson Product Design Award is supported by the James Dyson Foundation (JDF), a registered charity whose aim is to inspire and excite young people about design engineering.


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