Press Room

Announcing the 2017 iDesign Prize Finalists

Aspiring Entrepreneurs Compete for $50,000 and Mentoring from Penn’s Integrated Product Design Program


PHILADELPHIA—The University of Pennsylvania’s graduate program in Integrated Product Design presents the 2017 iDesign Prize Championship. Five teams led by Penn students will complete for $50,000 to bring an innovative product to market. The event takes place Tuesday, April 18, 6:00pm at the Forum of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, Fisher Fine Arts Building, 4th floor, 220 South 24th Street, Philadelphia. The pitch session will culminate in an awards ceremony and public reception; admission is free.

The annual iDesign competition, open to teams led by any Penn student, promotes the design of physical objects that solve a real-world problem by offering both financial support and mentorship to realize the winning concept. This year’s five short-listed proposals offer fresh takes on lounge seating, making pasta at home, and manufacturing, and present potentially life-changing solutions for new mothers and the world’s refugees.

“The iDesign jury was impressed by the depth and breadth of iDesign submissions,” says Sarah Rottenberg, Associate Director of the Integrated Product Design Program. “The finalists reflect the fact that opportunities for innovation can be found in many contexts, from the dinner table to the hospital room.”

The final elimination round will be judged by: Neil Epstein, Senior Creative Director, Comcast; Patrick FitzGerald, VP, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania; Holly Flanagan, Managing Director, Gabriel Investments; and Lisa Roberts, designer, author and TV personality.

The first-round jury consisted of alumni and PennDesign Overseers Jay Abramson (W’83, L’86), Laurence Goldberg (W’89), Mason Haupt (W’77) and Kevin Penn (W’83). 

Burrow (Kabeer Chopra, Leah K.S. Amick, and Stephen Kuhl)
Burrow is a customizable couch that delivers style, comfort, value and convenience. Burrow is ordered online and ships free in easy-to-carry, compact packages. It can be assembled at home in under 10 minutes, without tools, for a 100-day trial. Eventually, the Burrow line will include a sectional and full living room suite: chairs, coffee tables, rugs, book shelves, side tables and throw pillows.

2Me (Carissa Lim, Jessica Soe, and Justin Chang)
Newborn falls in the hospital are more frequent that is widely known—and very preventable. 2Me is an innovative baby bassinet that allows new mothers in the hospital to easily, safely, and painlessly transfer their baby to and from the crib, using a cantilever design and tilting mechanism.

Mesh (Dan Truong, Chris Lin, Connor Chong, and Victor Chien)
Mesh stands to give a voice to the millions of refugees around the world. Mesh is a custom framework for an internet-and-cellular-free communications network in the form of a smartphone app that functions without cellular towers or Wi-fi routers. Mesh Boxes that have the Mesh app pre-loaded will be marketed to aid organizations, who can then distribute them alongside the other supplies that they normally give out.

Presta Pasta Maker (Yoav Rabino, Jono Sanders, and Sarah Schechter)
More than 6 billion pounds of pasta are consumed by Americans annually, making it the 6th most consumed food in the U.S. Presta answers this demand with a home pasta maker that uses bean flour instead of wheat, making for a more nutritional, satisfying meal that’s quick and requires minimal cleanup.

Revolv3D (Jonathan Sanchez, Elizabeth Silvestro, and Eric Wahl)
The current state of manufacturing presents tradeoffs between convectional machining design and cost limitations or additive stair steps approximations of circles. Revolve3D is an alternative to the traditional lathe and 3D printer that has applications for consumer goods, medical devices, and industrial parts. Revolv3D also reduces material waste, print times, and increases creative potential.

About the iDesign Prize

Established jointly in 2015 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Master's Program and the School of Design (PennDesign), the iDesign Prize nurtures the next generation of product design leaders and promotes the design of physical objects that solve a real-world problem. The $50,000 prize supports Penn students in successfully launching an innovative product design venture after graduation, using selection criteria of holistic design, engineering and business plan for its realization. The iDesign Prize is generously supported by alumni and PennDesign Overseers Jay Abramson (W’83, L’86), Laurence Goldberg (W’89), Mason Haupt (W’77) and Kevin Penn (W’83). 

About the Integrated Product Design Program

The University of Pennsylvania's Integrated Product Design Master's program merges the disciplines of design, engineering and business for the purpose of creating compelling new products and experiences. The program is designed to train students in technology, business, manufacturing, aesthetics and human-product interaction and provide them with a framework for bringing these disciplines together to create something new. 

About PennDesign

PennDesign prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation.

Media Contact: Michael Grant, mrgrant@design.upenn.edu, 215.898.2539.