This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Blackwood Design Awards which has evolved into an international showcase of innovation and creativity aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities. Hosted at the cutting-edge National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus on January 11th 2024, the event will be a celebration of a decade of progress and provide a glimpse into the future of assistive technology.
Location Matters: The National Robotarium
We are proud to be holding the Blackwood Design awards at the National Robotarium. The Robotarium is located within Heriot-Watt University's Edinburgh Campus, and is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the advancement of Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS), Human and Robot Interaction (HRI), and High-Precision Manufacturing. As a collaboration between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, the National Robotarium is at the forefront of technological development and testing in the realms of robotics and artificial intelligence.
A Decade of Impact: Blackwood Design Awards
Launched in 2013 by Blackwood Homes and Care, the Blackwood Design Awards have evolved into a global competition attracting designers, engineers, and inventors. Blackwood Homes and Care, an organisation dedicated to helping individuals live life to the fullest by providing high-quality housing, care, and support, initiated the awards to discover and champion concepts, designs, and products that empower people to live independently.
The categories for this year include Best New Concept; Best New Aids, Equipment or Accessible Tech; and Best Collaborative Project by a University or Institute of Higher Learning.
This year, the judging panel had experts, professionals and people with disabilities from across the UK, including:
Colum Lowe, Director, Design Age Institute, Royal College of Art, London
Graeme Stewart, Peer Support Advisor, Spinal Injuries Scotland, and;
Steven, a Blackwood customer at one of our Glasgow services
Colum Lowe, expressed his enthusiasm for the innovative ideas presented at the awards, stating,
It was a delight to see such exciting and innovative ideas presented at the Blackwood Design Awards. The standard of applications was incredibly high, and hopefully, all of them will find their way to market and help transform the lives of their intended audience.
William Wright, Project Lead, Innovation and Research said,
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Blackwood Design Awards, now feels like the right time to reflect on the distance that we have travelled over the last decade. What started as a small competition to help find new innovative ideas, has grown into a major Award.
We have, as with previous years, had entries from across the globe which is amazing to see.
Having reviewed the entries with our judging panel, I can confidently say, the pedigree for entries is higher than ever before. New technologies such as AI, lasers and 3D printers mean that the only restriction entries is what can be dreamed up.
We very much looking forward to meeting with Finalists, the judging panel and guests on the 11th January at the National Robatotarium. I think it fitting that the Awards are to be held at such a significant venue, where new cutting-edge technology is being developed.
My thanks go to all who have submitted entries, to all the judges for their work in looking at the entries, and of course, many congratulations to the Finalists and Awards entries.
As we approach the event, stay tuned for exclusive insights from the judging day on our social media platforms. We are grateful to our judging panel for their dedication and commitment to positive change, and we look forward to sharing more about the innovating ideas and designs that are set to shape the future of assistive technology.