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Industrial Design senior wins international award for design inspired by her injured dog


Dog with sling

Emmie with grocery bag sling

March 3, 2020Megan Piunti ’20 (Industrial Design) struggled to care for her dog, Emmie, last April when Emmie had a painful Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) injury that left her temporarily paralyzed. “We used plastic bins and a sling [made] from a grocery bag to help her recover.”

Megan’s experience inspired her to design a portable crate with multi-use elements to help other injured dogs on crate rest. Her design recently won third place at the International Housewares Association (IHA) Student Design Competition. Megan’s design was chosen among 265 entries from 29 colleges.

“There are different kinds of crates that already exist but not really for this specific purpose,” Megan said. “I think this product … would help make the process of keeping [dogs] secure and comfortable a lot easier… and that would promote better healing processes and the outlook for the dogs’ lives.” 

Crate prototype design (left) and Emmie in crate (right)

The walls of the crate can be zipped down for better access when feeding or giving medicine. They also can be taken apart to create a playpen or block entry ways to stairs. The secure carry-strap that wraps around the base can also be used as a supportive sling. 

Megan designed her project, which she plans to patent, as part of an Industrial Design class project where students designed products to solve problems in the home

Every year MIAD participates in the IHA Student Design Competition. Megan presents her project at IHA’s Inspired Home Show March 14 – 16, 2020 in Chicago.


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