Future of wearables?

30th December 2013

With 2014 heralded by Wired Magazine as the year of wearables I wonder where this will lead us - having worked at Philips in the late 90's on the first commercial wearables and visions of the future of how wearables would look and feel, I am longing for our vision and dreams from then to come to fruition, but with technology opening up such new opportunities I am curious (as a dog owner) and intrigued about the No More Woof by the Nordic Society for invention and Discovery which takes wearables into an entirely new realm.

Always laced with humour and an element of 'why?' their inventions are always unique and this one is no different. A small wearable device that uses EEG to read the dogs brain, it then converts thoughts into human language.

They are also developing a series of voices that you can choose to be the voice that your dog communicates to you with. Coming in a series of models they can be pre- ordered with all the monies gained helping to research further into this field.




Tangible Media

29th December 2013

The desire for a more haptic experience in a increasingly digital world is not abating and we will continue to see more and more companies and designers bridge the gap between the two utilising the advantages of both realms, but exploring its possibilities in both realms at once are the brilliant minds at MIT Tangible Media group.

InFORM is a 3D rendering system that lets users virtually and physically interact with a dynamic shape display.

Utilising shape shifting pins similar to the 80's pinscreen executive toys, the interactive mat works with a Kinect Sensor allowing a digital/human tactile interaction.














Union of Striped Yarns

17th December 2013

I first saw Dienke Dekker's Union of Striped yarns project during Milan Design week, again at Dutch Design week and now at Talking Textiles - but I am still not bored by her beautiful woven pieces that turn plastic bags combined with wool and cotton into beautiful tactile pieces.

Working with striped yarns she creates an uneven pattern that is entirely unique giving a textural depth to her fabrics that is engaging and tactile.



Di Mainstone


Di Mainstone


Ling Tang


Ling Tang


Ling Tang


Ling Tang


Ling Tang


Shamees Aden


Dominic Wilcox


Dominic Wilcox


Dominic Wilcox


Julie Legault


Julie Legault


Wearable Futures II

16th December 2013

Last week saw the Wearable Futures conference take place at Ravensbourne University in London, with over 50 speakers from the field and more than 300 attendees.

The event comes as the current issue of Wired Magazine predicts that 2014 will be the year of wearable tech. The event highlighted how far we’ve come from the first forays into wearable technology, involving attaching as many gadgets as possible into any given item of clothing. The overarching impression from the two days was that notions of wearable tech are rapidly expanding and evolving, with a more intuitive and human centered approach at its core.

This bottom up approach to utilizing technology was epitomized by the work of presenting designers such as Julie Legault. Legault, who works at MIT as a conceptual designer/ researcher, showcased “The Heartbeats Watch” a timepiece that has two sets of hands, one to measure ‘standard’ time and the other ‘emotional’ time such as how time flies when you are with those you love.

Another designer exploring the impact of goal orientated wearable technology on the body was Ling Tang and her “Reality Mediators” project;
“The 3 sets of experiments consist of 3 different types of sensors, i.e. muscle sensor, brainwave sensing device and Global Positioning System (GPS). They are paired separately with 4 types of actuators, i.e. electrical muscle stimulation, sound actuators, heat pads and vibration motors, fitted onto different parts of the body. All the outputs create inherently unpleasant effect on the user so as to measure the level of obvious disruptiveness to user’s everyday activities.”

Other key themes throughout the two days were numerous examples of elements of humour and fun that may have, in the past, been lacking from the area. One speaker taking a bottom up whimsical approach to this is Dominic Wilcox who’s wonderful sketches speculating on the potential of technology, such as a “Name GPS” friend finder, were presented alongside his 2012 “No Place Like Home: GPS shoes” during the ‘Wearable Cities’ panel. The shoes are designed to help you find your way home, much like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz clicking her heels three times to get back to Kansas. The user of the shoes can load any destination into them and the shoes will guide them home.



Overall the most exciting aspect of the two days was the expanded view of what our wearable technology future could be. Presented were different scales of wearables from the environmental epitomized by Di Mainstone’s “Human Harp” Project, to the body scale, through to the implanted, an aspect explored conceptually by Ann-Kristin Abel’s project “Thought Harvester”.

This pushing of the boundaries, of what is classed as ‘wearable technology’, to include the biological was great to see represented and was covered in particular by Suzanne Lee and the panel I was lucky enough to take part in. Entitled “Biological Design and Living Technology” the session was chaired by MA Textile Futures course leader Caroline Till, and included alumni from the course; Ann-Kristin Abel, Jenny Lee, Shamees Aden and myself

With a potential of the event becoming an annual conference, the area of wearables is one to watch the development of with interest. Having developed and matured as an area it is exciting to see what 2014’s year of wearables will bring to the table.

Amy Congdon






Marble delights

11th December 2013

Pushing the boundaries of how we experience materials is certainly nothing new, but what is totally engaging about Shira Keret's Monolith project is the fact that our pre conception about an age old material such as marble is thrown entirely on its head with the organic raw beauty that she has created.

Using water erosion to take control of the design process she has used water jet cutting techniques to carve into the material simply speeding up a process that nature takes through natural erosion over thousands of years - yet on a micro scale.

The resulting objects, a set of serving plates and vessels showcase a natural and organic beauty and morphology of rock shaped by water.

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I use this blog as a notebook of inspirations – I post things I see and like and thoughts of mine. I don't revolve around a singular topic and neither does this blog. Everything and anything is relevant


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