Online contact lens retailer Visiondirect.co.uk recently concluded ‘Visionaries’, its first student design competition, announcing the winning design. Vision Direct awarded a grand prize of £25,000 for the winning design along with an additional £5,000 for the winning university.
The international competition was launched in October 2019 in the UK, Netherlands, Spain and Italy, and it has come to an end after 64 entries. Vision Direct invited students to submit a product design aimed at improving the daily lives of contact lens wearers. The competition saw an impressive range of entries from 18 universities including London’s Royal College of Art, Madrid’s Istituto Europeo di Design (IED), Eindhoven’s Technische Universiteit and Italy’s University of Palermo, among many others.
Kristen Tapping, a student from London’s South Bank University School of Engineering, has been awarded as the winner with their product design idea titled ECOSIGHT, which is an innovative, reusable storage system for daily contact lenses – it offers a use cycle that involves home delivery, reuse-and-sterilize containers and a prepaid return shipment.
Entries were judged in January by a panel of industry experts, including founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen Magazine, Marcus Fairs, Rainlight Creative Director Yorgo Lykouria, academic and international design consultant Kuno Prey, inventor and designer Duncan Shotton and Vision Direct CEO, Michael Kraftman, they were looking to find a good mixture of innovation and sustainability.
Talking about the winning design, Kristen Tapping says, ‘ECOSIGHT was inspired by the Pez Candy dispensers which stores about 10 candies vertically and moves them up as you press a button. Here, each individual pod holds a lens and is assembled in the compact and luxurious storage unit. Although I couldn’t fit the pods in the same structure as Pez, they are laid out horizontally to fit well in travel cases, cabinets, and in slim purses.
Sustainability was a difficult feat to address due to the fragility of the lenses and their need to lay in lens solution. I have seen some great zero waste innovations lately and wanted to adapt lens packaging to fit into the same system. By using medical grade plastics and adapting the packaging to be returned, sterilized, and reused, the entire process can now operate on a continuous loop creating a circular life cycle. Another goal was to entice consumers into this sustainable scheme by offering them luxurious cases and accessories to carry their lenses in, elevating the overall user experience.
While the design would need some reworking to actually go into production, I hope it makes people think about their use of single use plastics and inspire designers and engineers to build more a zero waste systems.’
You can see the other top 10 entries here