Three international students in the Erasmus programme of Maynooth University’s Department of Design Innovation garnered one of the top prizes in the 2018 RSA Student Design Awards participated in by hundreds of university students – enrolled in 130 different courses – from 27 countries across 4 continents.
Franziska Schranz from Austria and Jon Schwarzmann and Tino Duralija from Slovenia took the coveted prize in the hygienic design category of the highly-prestigious RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) student design awards.
The trio’s winning design, the Smartbot, is a laser-directed vacuum cleaner that eliminates bending and muscle load – ideal for older people or those having trouble with their back. This award was jointly shared with Blair Macintosh of Northumbria University for his project Buddi, a displayable subtle air purifier with an integrated hoover. Both university entries jointly won £3,000 (or approximately €3,431.75).
The annual awards, aimed at discovering emerging designers who can tackle social, environmental and economic issues with innovative product designs, is a global curriculum and competition run by RSA for higher education students.
According to Anthony Cleary, Maynooth’s design studio manager who lectured the trio for their universal design module, “The way this team came together with such an incredible work ethic and attention to detail was what led to this clearly impressive result. They [Jon, Franziska and Tino] thoroughly deserved to win.”