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Two student teams of the Department of Architecture, guided by Professor Yen-Ting Chen, won silver and bronze medals of the International Design Excellence Awards, an annual competition organized by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). The silver medal was awarded to the "Cyclone Catcher", a triangular structure equipped with a wind power system that produces power during a typhoon, and a hydroelectric power system that uses the water collected during typhoons for power production during calm weather. "Santa’s Giftbox", an innovative playground design, inspired by the opening of presents on Christmas day, won a bronze award.
The IDEA competition is the most important design competition in the US, with a special emphasis on the usability and the potential for commercialization of design work. With the iF and Reddot competitions in Germany, and the G-Mark Awards (Japan), IDEA one of the four major design competitions in the world.
"Cyclone Catcher" designed by Chih-Ting Yeh and Lang-Wen Ma, is a wind turbine that captures the kinetic energy of typhoons and may serve as a typhoon shelter at the same time. “Mankind has to pursue renewable energy solutions, and wind power is one of the most important resources. Our Cyclone Catcher offers a solution for countries that are affected by heavy storms which conventional wind turbines cannot withstand”, explains Chih-Ting Yeh. The scale-like openings can detect wind speed and open and close locally. The "Cyclone Catcher" also collects the abundant rainfall to generate electricity during non-typhoon periods.
The bronze award-winning work "Santa's Giftbox" was designed by recent graduates Yiyang Xu and Ruiwen Wu. Using a modular approach, they combined play equipment into functional cubes, i.e. “gift boxes”. The boxes are easy to transport in a container and can be used straight after unfolding. Different cubes can be combined with each other to create a fun, unique playground that will surprise and delight children just like gifts from Santa.