Australian International Design Awards 2012

25 August 2012 - 21 July 2013

A compact, highly-effective mine detector for use by the military, a pediatric nasal mask designed to treat young children with obtrusive sleep apnea, a new type of urban bicycle that simplifies gear changing to enhance cycling, and the first single-occupant research submarine capable of taking a human to the bottom of the ocean, are among a selection of new, innovative designs showing in the Australian International Design Awards 2012.

A highlight of this year’s display is the story of the bright green submarine dubbed the Deepsea Challenger, which took out this year’s highest honour, the 2012 Design Award of the Year.  The 12 ton sub was designed and manufactured by four Australian companies, in partnership with Hollywood film director James Cameron.  It was built and assembled at a workshop in Leichhardt, Sydney, by Australian engineer Ron Allum from Acheron Project and is able to safely take a human 11 kilometres below the sea surface, overcoming challenges similar to those faced in space exploration.

James Cameron first launched Deepsea Challenger successfully in March 2012 in the Pacific Ocean, where he filmed his three hour stay at the ocean bottom for a 3D documentary that will be released for cinema in 2013.

The Museum’s display shows how Deepsea Challenger’s design met the complicated physics of deep-water pressure and the research needs for exploring the ocean bottom with pilot safety of utmost importance.

Deepsea Challenger is among eleven remarkable design solutions explored at the Powerhouse, picked by the Museum for their good design and innovation, sustainability and industry or market significance from a field of 105 finalists of the 2012 Australian International Design Awards.

The Bung Plug, a major design achievement within the meat industry and winner of the Powerhouse Museum Design Award, is also shown. Developed by Bestaxx and Vert Design, this simple product overcame a major problem with meat contamination and waste, in an industry that previously would not have sought the help of professional designers. The Bung Plug significantly reduces the amount of contamination from organ discharge during the processing of meat, thereby reducing waste and ensuring Australia’s world-wide reputation for its high meat standards is upheld.

Other outstanding designs on show include a broadcast-quality microphone to use with digital cameras; a professional video-editing unit that can connect cameras, mixers, monitors and tape decks to operate at high speed; a new cuff-based device for measuring central (aortic) blood pressure; new designer wall lining made from recycled material; a wireless tagging system that ensures incorrect chemicals are not mixed together during transport and storage; and a new ‘man overboard’ rescue device, the Sea Scoopa, approved by the Royal Australian Navy.