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UC Student Design Makes History as a Three-Time International Winner!

UC’s Ryan Eder designed a “wheelchair workout” system to allow disabled individuals to enjoy a better fitness routine. His design previously won two top awards in an international competition. Now, it was just chosen the best in an online popular vote! He’s the competition’s first-ever winner of all three prizes: Gold, Best of Show and the popular Viewers’ Choice award.

Date: 10/24/2007 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover and provided by Ryan Eder

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This past weekend, Ryan Eder’s University of Cincinnati senior project earned new kudos when the public exercised its right to vote on the best project among an elite group of design concepts.<image1 align="right">

Eder, 24, of West Chester, Ohio, won that popular vote, and so, made history as the only designer – student or professional – to ever take home the top three prizes in the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA).

Eder won the gold medal in his design category, the “Best of Show” designation for the entire competition and the “Viewers’ Choice” award in what is arguably the world’s most prestigious professional industrial design competition.

Eder’s winning design is titled “The Access” and focuses on universal fitness equipment to serve the needs of the general population as well as the needs of those in wheelchairs. He entered the school project in this year’s IDEA competition, which is sponsored by BusinessWeek magazine and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Those annual awards drew professional and student entries from more than 30 countries, and Eder’s “The Access” was one of 20 gold-medal design concepts and the only “Best of Show.” He made IDEA-competition history at that time as the first student competitor to ever win that “Best of Show” designation.

The Web votes from around the world that made Eder’s design concept the winner in the online popular polling was another competition first in that no other project in this history of the competition has ever won a gold medal, a “Best of Show” designation and the “Viewers’ Choice” award.

The best part about having such a winning design is that Eder feels he has earned the respect of his design peers. At the same time, he’s been able to raise awareness on an issue that’s important to him: Equal access to fitness for all. 

He stated that he’s proud of the project because he wanted “to draw some attention to the lack of wheelchair-accessible equipment available in fitness centers. It’s an issue I’m really aware of because I immersed myself in that world during my project conception and completion.”

Eder added that because of the coverage provided his project in BusinessWeek and via the competition’s online voting, he’s received calls and e-mails from all over the nation, most from individuals in wheelchairs who want a better way to work out.

Elements from Ryan Eder's system that assist with the gripping and handling of exercise equipment.

“Just this past weekend, a former pro baseball player now living in Dallas contacted me. He’s been in a wheelchair following an accident, and he wanted to know where he can buy ‘The Access’ fitness system,” explained Eder.

Eder is now at work to help answer that question. Now that his design has received such positive review, he is seeking grants to build a testing prototype.


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