October 09, 2012

Design students earn top honors

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Design students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale retained bragging rights and a traveling trophy recently at the Industrial Designers Society of America's second annual IDSA Fusion, Best in the Midwest, Student Bragging Rights Design Competition.

Held Sept. 29, the contest provides an environment for collegiate design students to collaborate on an innovative design following an assigned theme, and then present their design in a professional environment.

This year's theme required teams to "Design a Game-changing Innovation in the Area of Personal Hygiene." Senior art students Joy Christensen and Lonnie Mann, with the assistance of Glen Shaw, a doctoral student in biochemistry, created the winning design -- an HCV test. The student's winning design was for use in detecting and diagnosing an infection, or monitoring treatment of the Hepatitis C virus. The project originated in an Aaron Scott's advanced industrial design course.  Scott is an assistant professor in the School of Art and Design.

During their presentation, Christensen and Mann explained that their test is simpler than current tests, less prone to contamination, and capable of providing a quicker diagnosis. Earlier diagnosis for this disease, they argued, would ultimately save millions of lives and dollars because treatment at the early stage of the disease is highly effective, and prevents or reduces debilitating effects that occur if the disease progresses untreated and undiagnosed.

Christensen also entered the concept into the Saluki IDEA competition. That competition concludes on Oct. 19 at the Tech Expo on campus.