The best designed products of 2015, according to designers

It’s that time of the year again — when perfectly fine household goods suddenly seem inadequate because a shiny newcomer has broken onto the scene.

The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) has announced the gold and silver candidates for its 2015 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), which are given to designers and concepts that have achieved excellence in product design — everything from computer equipment to kitchen appliances to two-wheeled transportation.

There are 81 products that will win gold and silver IDEA awards in total, out of a total pool of over 1,700 entrants. A jury of design experts winnowed down the candidates.

IDSA won’t reveal which finalists are in the gold tier and which are silver tier winners until August 22. Bronze award winners have already been announced.

Check out some of our favourite gold and silver candidates below.

As part of the the Oregon Manifest Bike Design Challenge, the BLACKLINE bicycle was made in Chicago's gritty image to be the pinnacle of urban utility. It has ample storage, LED blinkers, and smart handlebars that sync with a smartphone app to offer turn-by-turn directions.

Flo solves several problems for impoverished young girls by avoiding expensive disposable menstrual pads. The Flo kit offers girls a way to clean, dry, and carry reusable pads and avoid illness and infection.

Samsung's LED Flip Wallet is the first smartphone case of its kind, displaying messages to the phone's user via LED bulbs embedded in the cover. When opened, the outer display shuts off and the phone's screen turns on. It also features a card pocket located on the top of the case.

Kohler's Prolific Sink integrates a bamboo cutting board, colander, grated racks, and wash bin inside a standard stainless steel tub. The sink also features a cone-shaped drain for more efficient cleanup.

The da Vinci Xi Surgical System is poised to revolutionise minimally invasive surgery with cutting-edge robotics. Seated comfortably, a surgeon can manipulate the machine's arms to make delicate and accurate cuts with real-time feedback.

Monstas are interactive toys for kids with juvenile arthritis. Used in tandem with an iPad app, kids can use a variety of Monstas to strengthen their fingers, wrists, and knuckles.

August Smart Lock replaces or supplements your traditional keyed entry with a smartphone app that can extend guest access, log visits, and keep your home safe from anywhere. The packaging also looks like a door, IDSA says, 'providing users a seamless product experience from the moment of purchase.'

Synchrony is a touch-based platform designed for kids with autism and their parents to create harmonious music, regardless of skill level. Autistic children frequently suffer sensitivity to noise. Synchrony aims to make sound more enjoyable in a shared way.

IKO Prosthetic Creative Systems reimagines prosthetic limbs for kids with detachable end pieces. Student creator Carlos Arturo Torres says working in LEGO's Future Lab inspired him to bring some modular fun to an otherwise disabling reality.

Motorola's Moto Hint merges leather, wood, and canvas fabrics with in-ear delivery of news, messages, and voice-activated calls. It comes with a portable case that doubles as a charger.

The Tube, London's iconic railway line, gets a modern upgrade with deep underground access and full automation, though there will be a operator onboard. The trains are faster, sleeker, and anticipated to reduce delays on major lines by 2022.

CLUG bike racks can easily attach to most vertical surfaces, either to organise, save space, or enliven a room. CLUG racks come in different sizes to fit the particular bike.

Eton's Rugged Rukus music player uses solar power as its source of power and bluetooth to stream music. It comes built-in with durable sides and handle, making it ideal for camping and outdoor use. The product's lithium battery also keeps the daytime charge for up to eight hours.

Flip Reel reinvents the old-school art of hand line fishing, taking design inspiration from the traditional Cuban Yo-Yo. Its ergonomic handle makes the product kid-friendly, and the telescoping material allows for easy storage.

Spiegelau's craft beer glasses are designed to accommodate stouts, wheat beers, and IPAs in each of their unique aromas, tastes, and intensities. According to IDSA, the glass 'has been developed through a series of design and tasting workshops in collaboration with master brewers of leading American Craft Beer Breweries.'

Innova Schools, in Peru, are high-quality and affordable private schools designed by Ideo from the ground up. They approach education with individualized learning designed to get kids thinking entrepreneurially.

MultipliCITY is a collection of benches, lights, bike racks, and trash bins designed to make public life more elegant and beautiful. The products are meant to be flexible and capable of finding a home all over the world.

GE's Micro Kitchen wants to help you live large in a small space. The compact refrigeration, cleaning, and microwave units save space and reduce the user's environmental footprint.

Edyn's Garden Sensor brings big data to gardening with real-time tracking of soil conditions, weather, and sunlight. It alerts users via a smartphone app to the state of their crops and can make recommendations about where to make changes.

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