Industrial product design wastes away the competition

April 29, 2009

A team of" title="ASU College of Design">ASU College of Design students and faculty were recognized this spring for their transgenerational toilet design concept, Go With the Flo™ by the Northwest Design Invitational (NDI). Five excellence criteria were exercised at the NDI biennial competition to recognize outstanding design: appropriate aesthetics, design innovation, ecological responsibility and market and user benefits.

Design team members honored with the NDI’s Breaking the Rules Silver Award include" title="John Takamura">John Takamura and" title="Dosun Shin ">Dosun Shin, College of Design faculty members, and Tamara Christensen and Dean Bacalzo, Master of Science in Design students. Download Full Image

“We hope our design will alter the toilet archetype by the year 2030,” says John Takamura, design team leader and assistant professor of industrial design in the ASU College of Design.

The Flo™ toilet is an ergonomic, sustainable design concept for baby boomers that functions like a squat toilet. Designers maintain that using the Flo™ toilet is akin to yoga – by building and strengthening abdominal and back muscles. Only one-half to one gallon of water is used for flushing and The Flo™ reuses water from hand washing. To flush water from the tanks to the toilet, the Flo™ employs an electromagnetic ball valve that uses electromagnets. Go With the Flo™ also is free of mechanical parts. The toilet is fully self-sustaining and independent of electric power.

The genesis for the Go With the Flo™ design concept was a request by graduate student Tamara Christensen. She expressed her interest in toilet design based on some work she did as an industrial design undergraduate. Takamura agreed to work with her on an independent extracurricular study and quickly pulled in Dosun Shin, fellow College of Design professor.

“I wanted to have another graduate design student on the team and solicited the talents of Dean Bacalzo because of his undergraduate engineering degree,” Takamura says.

Bacalzo became the design engineer, Shin was the 3-D design consultant, Christensen served as the team’s researcher and Takamura stepped into the branding-specialist role.

“We decided to meet at least once a week over a 15-week semester to take on the task of completely redesigning the modern toilet,” Takamura says. “This was actually very difficult because the toilet really hasn’t changed in over 100 years of use, but we felt confident in our transdisciplinary team to get the job done!” he adds.

Takamura and his design team not only have changed the concept of a typical bathroom experience with their Go With the Flo™ design, but they also shut out the competition. According to" title="NDI">NDI event organizers, this year they received more than 80 entries from 25 different design organizations and universities.

Wendy Craft

Marketing and communications manager, Business and Finance Communications Group


ASU seniors named among top students by USA Today

April 29, 2009

Once again an ASU senior has been chosen as one of the top 20 students in the country by USA Today. Charlene Bashore, who at 22 already is involved in highly sophisticated DNA research, is featured in the newspaper’s April 29 issue as one of 20 students named to the All-USA College Academic First Team for exceptional intellectual achievement and leadership.

ASU has had more students named to the prestigious award than any other public university in the nation, with 12 students winning First-Team honors in 17 years. Only Harvard and Duke have had more students win the honor. Download Full Image

Eric Anderson, a senior majoring in bioengineering and medicinal biochemistry, was named to the Second Team of 20 students. Hundreds of students were nominated by colleges and universities across the United States.

A national team of judges selects top students based on grades, leadership, activities, and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. Each first team member receives a $2,500 cash award, in addition to a photo and profile in the newspaper.

A biochemistry major in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bashore’s undergraduate research is in rapid DNA sequencing, in the lab of Peter Williams, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. She hopes to move scientific knowledge toward a clearer understanding of certain diseases so that doctors will be able to more precisely identify effective new treatments.

She also is deeply involved in non-profit organizations, and has spent hours bringing science activities to elementary, middle and high schools. As a woman of Chinese heritage, she particularly hopes to spark interest in chemistry in young women and minorities.

“Charlene Bashore is one of the most interesting and versatile young women ever to study at ASU,” says Janet Burke, associate dean of Barrett, the Honors College, where she also is enrolled.

“She has enormous potential to make an impact in an important field, not only because she has accomplished so much already, but because she has the focus, drive and talent to propel herself to the top.”

Bashore puts on chemistry demonstrations at bookstores, schools and science expos, and she has organized leadership retreats for high school students and fund-raising for a school for women and girls in Malawi, Africa.

She is the president of Rotaract of ASU, a community service club, and is involved in service at the All-Saints Catholic Newman Center.

She also plays the violin at weekly services at her church and until recently was in the ASU Sinfonietta. She says her childhood passions of soccer, violin and tap dancing helped her develop the discipline she brings to scientific research, which can be painstaking and frustrating.

“Dealing with the dissatisfaction of yet another failed experiment is easy after spending hours dribbling in the back yard, suffering through scales, or shuffling in my basement,” Bashore says.

“People put up with the frustration of research so they can understand how complex systems tick and then use that knowledge to make life better. It’s an alluring blend of intellectual challenge and practical potential.”

Anderson has been doing brain and breast cancer research at Translational Genomics Research Institute for three years, investigating possible diagnostic and therapeutic genetic targets. Each year he has won a fellowship in the School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research program.

He also is enrolled in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and Barrett. He volunteers each week in both the Mission of Mercy Medical Clinic and the Migrant Health Education Program, providing care to homeless patients and the uninsured. In the migrant program, he works to find funding and establish clinical partnerships. Anderson also has been a hospice volunteer.

Both Bashore and Anderson received Goldwater Scholarships during their time at ASU, as a recognition of the quality of their undergraduate research.

Bashore plans a career in biomedical research. After graduating from ASU on May 13, she will enter a doctoral program in molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley. Anderson will eventually attend medical school to become a doctor, but he plans to attend ASU one more year to complete a dual degree.