Robotic Prosthetic Knee sweeps the Luminary at the Red Dot Design Award: Design Concept 2020

During one of our Q&A’s, a reader asked our founder, Takashi Yamada, what a design should be according to him. “Innovative”, he said, “It is not about making something bigger, better, stronger, faster, cheaper, etc. than your previous product or service. Innovation is about creating something that makes what you already have obsolete. And that’s why I love concepts so much – they always push the boundaries.” And that same love for concepts echoes through all of Yanko Design.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has surged through the world, changing things as we know it. But one thing that could not be dampened was the sense of enthusiasm with which the design community rose up to this new challenge. Red Dot Awards are not just an award, but a seal of quality that helps the designers distinguish their design and gain a spotlight to help their talent shine. Undeterred by COVID, the Red Dot Award ceremony was held online this year, the celebratory moments captured and shared during a two-day award celebration. Let’s jump into the list of the 2020 Red Dot Awards: Design Concept winners with the Red Dot Luminary Award, presented by the Red Dot Juror – Mr. Tanaka Kazuo!

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Announcement of the prestigious Red Dot: Luminary Award 2020

The Robotic Prosthetic Knee by BionicM Inc. (Japan) is the winner of the Red Dot: Luminary 2020 award for their innovative, motor-powered design that helps above-knee amputees restore their physical functions. As Mr. Kazuo Tanaka explains “The Robotic Prosthetic Knee completely changes the concept of prostheses up to now. It is the fusion of body neural information and robot technology. As a result, the user can obtain a natural walking sensation that is completely different from that of a conventional artificial leg. What’s more, its appearance is fashionable and gives the user confidence.”

Robotic Prosthetic Knee by BionicM Inc.

The top accolade winning design serves as an inspiration to designers and takes a huge step towards building a more inclusive world. How do they do that? By merging robotic technology and the human body! The design is very personal for its CEO, Dr. Sun Xiajun since he is a prosthetic user since age 9. While he got his first prosthetic at the age of 15, Dr. Xiajun understands the importance of merging design and engineering to create a product that excels in everyday life. Especially in the prosthetics field, functionality and aesthetics hold equal weightage in making the design feel socially acceptable, helping the user be comfortable in using this design to improve their day-to-day life. The result is a compact, lightweight, and futuristic design that the user is actually proud to show-off instead of hiding it.

Yanko Design curates the team’s favorite designs that are pushing the boundaries for a better tomorrow and it ranges from urban architecture and automotive to smart home appliances and toys!

Deployable Emergency Shelter by Samuel Barratt and Henry Glogau

This design has an intrinsic connection to its environment and stands on the pillars of biomimicry and symbiosis. The concept explores how snow can be used as a natural insulator and protective layer in extremely cold environments through fractional origami skin combined with lightweight lattice structure – think Eskimos but in 2020 with design skills and their traditional knowledge of snow. “We wanted to design a shelter which looks to embrace and utilize these extreme conditions to its advantage, rather than fight against them. Snow became a building material rather than a burden,” said the designers of the Deployable Emergency Shelter.

UN/LIMITED by Chou Kuan-hua

UN/LIMITED explores the requirements of volume and material through a daily backpack because we don’t have Hermoine’s Undetectable Extension Charm to fit everything in our regular bags. It is expandable to accommodate unexpected items and can also be compressed into a more streamlined form to allow for better mobility. Guided by the design philosophy of ‘design by reduction’, it is sealed by heat welding and made of a mono-material, DuPont Hytrel, or similar recyclable thermoplastic elastomers with different levels of hardness and also making it easier to recycle – the objective is to design a product with recyclable plastic that is sustainable, improves with age and has a genuine bond with the user.

TOGOther by Pan Yu-Ting and Wu Ya-Cheng

This is an electric transporter that can be attached to all kinds of wheelchairs giving mobility a dimension of modularity that makes it more adaptable to people and places. Depending on the needs of the disabled, it offers three mobility modes: Independent Mode, Assisted Mode, and Personal Transporter mode. The modern aesthetics and universal design details help move away from the stigma of disability. This challenges our long-standing stereotypes and perceptions of assistive devices. Rooted in the idea of an inclusive mobile society for everyone, TOGOther aims to lighten the load of both the disabled and their caregiver, thereby supporting an aging society.

Ultra-Thin Air Conditioner by Ningbo AUX Electric Co., Ltd.

Tired of the bulky split Air Conditioners or the rattle-y window ACs? This is your solution – a slim, telescopic air-conditioner with an accordion-like panel as a cool air outlet. Ultra-Thin Air Conditioner’s panel expands and contracts to change the angle of the airflow that is exiting. The more the panels expand, the bigger the area of airflow. This accordion design replaces the traditional swing-flap blades of air-conditioners that usually guide the airflow. In a standby state, the space of the air duct is compressed, the panel collapses and closes, hiding the air vents to leave behind an ‘ultra-thin’ form. Sleep, simple, and super ‘cool’.


This automotive design is a first of its kind product that enables divers to reach deeper depths with great speeds by equipping them with the environmental parameters from an integrated LCD screen. The unique built-in GPS positioning system helps users return to their set locations when the propeller goes into in low-battery mode. For user-friendly ‘smart return’ function the slots are filled with a hollow glass micro-bead type of buoyant material – this ensures that the body is not affected by the high pressure of the deep waters and that it would actually float to the surface and start the GPS positioning function after being let go. In order to create highly efficient products with perfect safety, A123 lithium-ion batteries are used because they offer no risk of explosion, therefore reducing stress for divers. Truly, the Poseidon of the automotive world with its amphibian-like design.

AMBI- by Baek Ju Yeon

A regular mouse is still a major cause for ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ because a mouse’s angle is generally not ergonomic for the hand, especially if you are left-handed because the mouse market often forgets about you. Sandwiched between the shell of the vertical AMBI- mouse is a collapsible accordion-like structure made with flexible plastic that allows users to adjust the tilt angle of the mouse. When the structure changes, a setup window will intuitively appear on the screen. This can be modified to fit both hands. The upper and lower shell can also be used alone (by detaching the accordion structure) just like a regular mouse. Left-handers finally rejoice!

WM Fresher by Nanjing Chuangwei Household Electronic Appliances Limited

By combining the functions of a front-loading washing machine, a small top-loading washing machine, and a shoe-care machine, WM Fresher offers users a ‘head-to-toe’ clean. Its unique three-layer washing space can wash and care for different clothing materials and dirtiness at the same time, saving time and energy. It is user-friendly, even for the elderly, and it is possible to customize and personalize the washing parameters for the optimum cleaning result. It uses an innovative steam washing function to sterilize and disinfect clothes. The shoe sterilization area is right at the bottom and automatically detects, sterilizes, and deodorizes footwear according to the material and size. Making laundry easier for everyone!

Moving Z by ZINUS Design Department

Moving frequently and constantly having to buy/discard furniture is a huge hassle, especially for Gen Z who are just venturing into the real world. Cities around the world are seeing a gradual decrease in personal living space, and the increasing movement in and out of the city. People need furniture that is suited for small spaces and frequent moves. Moving Z is a new furniture concept that is compact and easy to move. It is designed to reduce the time and effort needed when moving to a new home. For frequent movers, Moving Z can be easily packed, assembled, or used in different configurations – pushed down or upright to fit any space. The modular boxes are made from a variety of materials and can be stacked/arranged freely while the wheeled frame functions as a cart which can be used to move things conveniently.

Little Hoppa by Sofie

Many children’s toys on the market are bulky, not designed to last, and non-renewable. Little Hoppa is a 3-in-1 children’s play gym, jumper, and activity table. This durable, innovative, and multi-activity toy transforms and adapts with children as they grow (from birth to 4 years old). It is easy to clean and recycle, the simple nut-and-bolt fit makes it super simple to put each stage together; most parts are also reused in each stage. It can be used by newborns for tummy time, for babies with interactive hanging toys, and for slightly older babies who start to pull themselves up, it can be used as a jumper toy. The final stage has been created for the toddler and pre-school years – the tabletop is dual-sided so younger children can use the built-in road, storytelling forms, and interactive toys for imaginative play, while older children will enjoy drawing or reading using the flat side of the table.

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