Over the years I've seen many "radical" designs for new PCs - I vividly remember being shown an Intel design for a PC that sat inside a leopard-print footstool, designed for the home (sadly, the design was a little premature then, because PCs were still consigned to the study/spare room). But few of these have made it into production - in fact, the visible leap we've made in production PCs is to go from beige to black a few years ago. Isn't it time to do something about it?

I've learnt that we're sponsoring a design competition, along with the IDSA, for the next generation of PCs - with prizes up to $10,000 (yes, it's a global competition). It is open to students 14+ (in fact, it positively encourages entry by students, with an extra award going to the school adviser).

Entries close on the 14th December, but it might be a great way to engage students in thinking about practical implications of product design, led by how they think technology fits into our lives:

"Designs for practically any Windows-based PC design concept may be entered; however, challenges of manufacturability should be considered. Reinvent the entire package, from hardware to accessories to the out-of-box experience (the experience of unpacking and turning on your computer for the first time).
This year's competition focuses on designs that help people do what they feel passionate about. When it comes to music, traveling, photography, or any number of pursuits, people can spend a significant amount of time developing their skills for it. The challenge is to create a Next-Gen PC that enhances the experience through great design. Your Windows-based design can include current Windows Vista features, or new and improved features for future versions of Windows software. The goal is to more closely match what we supply with what people need to pursue their passions (and refraining from supplying what they don’t need), which requires a more customised approach than the traditional general purpose PC."

Full details of the competition are on the website

One thing I noticed in the small print is that some countries (not the UK!) are excluded. I can understand some of the list, but what's with Canada?Open to amateur, student and professional industrial designers who are 14 years or older at the time of entry; however residents of the following countries are ineligible to participate: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. In addition, residents of the Province of Quebec are ineligible to participate.