Sam Bertain’s Bill Moggridge Award comes with a distinction only one other winner can claim: the notoriety of being the first to win.
Bertain and his partner Leslie Greene were both honored with the award in its inaugural year, 2014. Their “Air Kinetic Knee-Brace” met all the criteria, demonstrating vision, ingenuity, beauty, sustainability, and development potential.
They came up with the brace during an industrial design class at California College of the Arts (CCA) that challenged them to produce a wearable technology project.
To create the knee brace, Bertain and Green used 3-D printed molds, silicone elastomers, soft robotics, and pneumatic-powered air padding, among other items. They began with Bertain’s 3-D printer to form the knee-brace molds, then they bought silicone to fill the molds and make the soft robotics, which they tested by pumping them up with air from a bike pump.
“It was an honor to be recognized for something that we believed in, something we thought was interesting, and something we had a lot of fun doing and making,” Bertain said.
The Bill Moggridge Award is akin to “a stamp of approval,” he added. “What we were doing and the way we were thinking was in the right realm and received positively.”
Since winning the award, Bertain has graduated from CCA and done internships at Motorola and IDEO, the prominent product design firm co-founded by the late Moggridge. Bertain said he jumped at the IDEO opportunity.
After nearly a year, the IDEO internship turned into a full-time position where Bertain said he has being challenged to delineate new areas of design—specifically a blending of his industrial design background with food innovation. The work includes physical food packaging, which takes into account the look, feel, flavor, and ingredients, as well as the experience consumers have when eating.
“It’s really kind of pushed what I’ve traditionally known as industrial design to all these new realms…thinking and making and creating,” Bertain said. “It’s still being defined.”
But it is an area that excites Bertain and where he said feels he can make an impact as a designer.
“Anything from fine dining to mass food production is really interesting to me and what I'm looking forward to doing,” he said.
To learn more about Sam and his work or to contact him directly, please visit Sam's LinkedIn profile.