Students Take Top Honors in Designs for Safety Competition

Industrial Design majors receive awards for innovative designs

Photo courtesy of Denis Feigler

Designs for Safety Competiton award winners Aviv Butvinik, Arielle Cardone and Gregory Pein.

For the third consecutive year, a Montclair State student won the Grand Prize in the Designs for Safety Competition sponsored by the World Traffic Safety Symposium. Senior Aviv Butvinik captured the judge’s attention with his submission, the “Heads Up” Pedestrian Alert System, to take the top prize. Junior Arielle Cardone won second prize – the second year in a row a University student has received this honor. Gregory Pein placed fourth in the prestigious national competition.

The students received their awards at the New York Auto Show’s World Traffic Safety Symposium held on April 25 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

“This is the fifth year our students have placed in the competition,” says Industrial Design program director Dr. Denis Feigler. “The reason they stand out is because their education covers both the theoretical and practical aspects of product design. The students are committed to developing design projects that meet professional expectations.”

All Industrial Design majors are encouraged to participate in this competition. Butvinik, an Industrial Design major from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, was inspired by a 2013 news story about a family that was killed by a fast-moving car while crossing the street. “I wanted to create something that could help prevent this from happening again,” he says. “Cars driving uphill at night cannot see pedestrians crossing the road up ahead. Likewise, the pedestrians crossing the road can’t see the cars coming up the hill down below.”

In 2011, 4,432 people were killed in pedestrian motor vehicle accidents. Butvinik’s “Heads Up” system predicts when a car is going too fast to stop in time before the intersection. Butvinik’s warning system includes flashing LED lights at crosswalks and warning beeps to alert pedestrians that the unseen car is coming in time for them to evacuate the intersection.

Butvinik received $4,000 of the $5,000 prize, with the remaining $1,000 going to the Industrial Design major. “The best part of winning is knowing that the company that is sponsoring the Grand Prize now knows about the system,” he says. “They may even have the money to create it. That is very exciting!”

Arielle Cardone is no stranger to the winner’s circle. In 2013, she shared the Grand Prize with fellow student Noemi Nagy for a “protectaRail” design, which provided a protective buffer to guardrails that minimized the impact of a crash. This year, her winning design was aimed at eliminating snow and ice on roads to avoid accidents. “I used a mineral called zeolite, that stores up to four times the amount of heat that water does. When inlaid in roads, it absorbs heat from outside sources,” she explains. When it snows, the water from the snow activates the heat release and warms the pavement, melting snow and ice and clearing the road – and helping to prevent accidents.

For Cardone, the best thing about winning is being rewarded for her hard work. “Placing in the competition two years in a row is an honor,” she says. “It has been a very rewarding experience.” As for next year, she says, “If I think of an idea that I think has good potential, then I will definitely entertain the thought of entering again.”

Feigler is delighted that the Industrial Design program has received such valuable industry recognition. “Winning the Grand Prize one time can be considered a lucky break. Winning it again and placing second two years running is pretty cool,” he says. “Repeating the pattern for the third year says we are doing something right! Winning the competition proves to students that they are receiving the right education for building a successful design career.”