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  • Image from Finalist Makerbites pitch

Finalists Named for $50k iDesign@Penn Prize

PHILADELPHIA—Eight jurors have selected four finalists for the inaugural iDesign@Penn Prize, a $50,000 award jointly offered by the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and the Integrated Product Design Master's Program.

The annual competition, open to graduate students across the University, promotes the design of physical objects that solve a real world problem, offering both financial and mentorship support to realize the winning concept.

The jury included Kevin Penn, Laurence Goldberg, Mason Haupt and Jay Abramson, School of Design Overseers and Integrated Product Design alumni who reviewed projects submitted in a wide range of categories, ranging from ideas to reimagine monitoring in agriculture to improvements for medical packaging.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem at Penn is already very strong; this prize supports entrepreneurs who are developing physical products that require upfront investment to manufacture,” said Sarah Rottenberg, Associate Director of Penn’s Integrated Product Design program. “Our hope is that the iDesign Prize enables Penn graduates to achieve impact faster in industries like healthcare, education and manufacturing that are undergoing rapid change.”

The finalist proposals represent a cross-section of Penn’s schools and disciplines, including:

·       FarmLink, a flexible technology driven monitoring service to bring more valuable weather and life-cycle tracking data to farming techniques proposed by Diwei Shou, MIPD’15, Edward Wu, BA’15, MIPD’15 and Dennis Zdonov, MSE:IPD’15, W’15.

·       Makerbites, an educational product designed to help teach children how injection molding works by using edible gel proposed by Taylor Caputo, MIPD’15 and Celia Lewis, BS’14, MIPD’15.

·       Motion View, a subscription-based, touch-free controlled medical imaging device proposed by Luke Macyszyn, Bilwaj Gaonkar, MSE’08, PHD’17, Madhur Behl, MSE’12, PHD’15 and Aris Sotiras.

·       SafeStamp, a security tag for medication packaging which enables immediate point-of-purchase verification designed to reduce counterfeit medication proposed by Anastasia D’Orazio, WG’16, Ravit Dung, GEN’15, Meet Vora, MSE’15 and Matt McGuire, WG’16.


“This prize isn’t just something for a student’s resume. We created this prize with the intention to spur innovation that has the potential for real impact,” said Kevin Penn, Chairman of PennDesign’s Board of Overseers and Managing Director, American Securities.

This competition has already generated a great collection of ideas in its first year. These students have tremendous spirit and creativity, and I have no doubt that they have set the standard for this prize for years to come.”

Finalists will pitch their ideas April 27, 2015 before a panel of judges including Jordan Goldstein, Lecturer in the School of Design and Managing Director & Principal at Gensler, Richard Saul Wurman, ‪Founder of TEDMED and TED, Turi McKinley, ‪Participatory Design Director at frog, Inc., Karl Ulrich, Vice Dean of Innovation at The Wharton School, Brett Topche, ‪Managing Director at MentorTech Ventures, Elliot Menschik, Managing Partner, DreamIt Ventures and Lecturer in Engineering Entrepenurship in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The $50,000 prize will be awarded to the top team to launch their innovative venture. For more details about the event, please visit www.design.upenn.edu/interdisciplinary-programs/events/idesign-prize-award-ceremony.

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About the iDesign@Penn Prize

Established jointly in 2015 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Integrated Product Design Master's Program and the School of Design, the iDesign@Penn Prize is committed to fostering the next generation of product design leaders and promoting the design of physical objects that solve a real world problem. The $50,000 prize aims to help Penn graduate students successfully launch an innovative product design venture after graduation, using selection criteria of holistic design, engineering and business plan for its realization. The iDesign@Penn Prize is generously supported by 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 programs merge 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

Operating in the context of an urban research University that supports a culture of inquiry, PennDesign attracts an international community of scholars, researchers, artists and practitioners eager to promote interdisciplinary thinking that expands the scope of art and design and increases its opportunity to make an outsized impact. From reigniting the link between ecology and urbanism, to exploring how generative design not only produces new forms of building but smarter behavior and better performance, PennDesign’s eight degree programs are committed to thought leadership that impacts policy and engages both locally and globally to advance a sustainable future.