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Red Dot Awards: young designers imagine the future of everyday objects

Updated 9:01 AM ET, Mon December 29, 2014
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Running out of juice? How about a tiny, disposable cardboard battery for a couple of extra hours of instant charge?

The idea is from a design concept called Mini Power: these "power pills" would provide your phone with an additional two, four or six hours of use when you most need it, and you could buy them cheaply at convenience stores or from vending machines.

Disposable smartphone batteries and chargers already exist, but they've failed to gain traction because they're far from being an environmentally friendly solution to the problem of a low battery.

The proposed cardboard shell of Mini Power tries to address that, but the core would still be made of lithium and other potentially hazardous materials, and would therefore need to be properly recycled.

The concept, by Tsung Chih-Hsien, is a winning entry for the 2014 edition of the Red Dot Design Awards, which have been celebrating the best in industrial design since 1995. Starting in 2005, a new category called "Design Concept" has been added to highlight the most intriguing design concepts from young creative talents from all over the world. These are not yet actual products, but out-there ideas that could one day be turned into reality. This is our selection of the best submissions of the year.

by Jacopo Prisco, for CNN
Courtesy Red Dot
360 Degree Rotating Extendable Power Strip

Designer Sun Fuzhuang offers a solution to the overlapping problem that can afflict power strips, with this colorful design that incorporates rotating outlets to keep cables untangled.
Courtesy Red Dot
Tennis Picker

Designers Kim Seonghyun and Yu Yunjo come to the rescue of amateur tennis players who have yet to develop fancy moves for picking up tennis balls from the court. This adhesive strip is easily placed over the top rim of the racquet and attracts stray balls with the power of velcro.
Courtesy Red Dot
The Bow Tie

This simple addition to the wine bottle mould, devised by Zhang Jian, makes it possible to keep bottles flat and prevents them from rolling, without the need for a rack.
Courtesy Red Dot
Bicylcle Saddle

A simple idea: the Guangzhou Academy Of Fine Arts proposes to add some cushioning to the underside of a bicycle saddle to make it easier to carry it up the stairs.
Courtesy Red Dot
Cursum Stroller

Designer Cindy Sjöblom has focused on making a stroller that can easily connect to a wheelchair, offering adjustments to the height and positioning of the baby seat.
Courtesy Red Dot
Double Lock

Improving on the current design of safety blisters for medicine packaging, the Double Lock introduces a two-stage pill extraction process: the pill is first moved to the area outlined in green, and only then can it be pushed out. Designed by Huang Yu-Chang, Lee Yin-Kai, Lai Chih-Wei, and Wang Szu-Hsin.
Courtesy Red Dot
Skipping Fish Food

The Shenyang Aerospace University has imagined the ultimate tool for a perfect session of stone skipping: these flat discs are the perfect shape to grant you more than a few bounces, and they double as a meal for aquatic life. Two fish with one stone?
Courtesy Red Dot
Time Whistle

From the Dalian Nationalities University School of Design comes this radically new design for a referee whistle. It combines the functions of an electronic watch, and indicator and -- of course -- a whistle, freeing the official from the need to carry multiple tools and letting him or her focus on the football match itself.
Courtesy Red Dot
Tiya Convenient Drain

Cleaning kitchen and bathroom drains would no longer gross you out with this elegant design by Chen Wanting. It's open ended, so hair and dirt can be easily washed off.
Courtesy Red Dot
Bentwood Stool Backpack

From designers Chen Chieh-Chun, Chen Po-Chun, Li Hung-Chieh and Wu Po-Ruei comes this backpack fitted with a hard shell: it can turn into a stool or a table, while also protecting your belongings.
Courtesy Red Dot
Self-Folding Wire

Tangled headphone cables? No more. ThinkPower Design proposes to embrace the power of magnets to manufacture a headphones cable that just clicks into a resting position with a few simple gestures.
Courtesy Red Dot
Warning Cone

Designers at Asia University want to change the shape of the bulky orange cone: their design looks like a box, and then unfolds like an accordion to reveal a strip or bright red traffic cones, ready for deployment.
Courtesy Red Dot
Shield Extinguisher

When fighting a fire, you need all the protection you can get: the Shield Extinguisher imagined by Kim Junyoung and Lee Jimin is designed to make life easier for rescue workers.
Courtesy Red Dot
City Firefly

Designers Takeshima Kazuyoshi and Uchima Rosa have thought of a wearable bicycle lock that doubles as safety gear for the rider. An LED strip makes other road users aware of the cyclist's presence, with an appealing design that carefully mixes form and function.
Courtesy Red Dot