Last week DailyInspiration got invited to the first edition of Wearable Futures. A design convention exploring innovation, technology and design related to wearable. An eclectic series of talks and exhibitions investigating how, where and when designs of the future will be embedded on the human body. Keywords of the two days were connectivity, smart materials, augmented, biofabrication, sustainability, data, internet of things and surveillance.
First on the stage was Clara Gaggero, founder of the innovation studio Vitamins. The studio has developed a funny, clever and (apparently for Blackberry) viable Skin Display. Amongst other impressive project is a Folding Wheel that could revolutionize many different aspects of our future lives.
David Ban, business development manager at FourSquare explained the crowd his view on how his online platform is looking into wearable technology to enhance the user experience and improve the service for its users.
The following speaker, James Bridle provided a great juxtaposition to spark discussions about technology, culture and ethic. The inspiring talk questioned the role of new technologies in our society. Whether digging in massive Amazoon’s warehouses, gigantic data centre or drone’s activity Bridle always bring a fresh, comprehensive and human view on the subject.
Suzanne Lee was probably the most awaited speaker of the convention. She is the founder of BioCouture, the first ever consultancy on bio-materials bridging the gap between the lab and the market. After a whole career exploring innovation applied to wearable she now believe the real departure and radical change is to be found in microbial material. She argued how “learning to harness microbes to create materials and things for us”, could be the future for many designers.
Next is Lauren Bowker, a multi-award alchemist now working in the fashion industry. Coming from a chemistry degree she has been researching into different kind of ink for different commercial use. During her studies she developed a particular ink that while absorbing CO2 would become of a darker colour. Darker tint that would eventually regenerate itself when exposed to fresh air again. More recently she created a new ink able to change colour in relation to the environment going from black to white with many hues in between.
A peculiar exhibition was staged in the main atrium to entertain the crowd during lunch break. A series of works that were both looking into the latest discoveries in technology and revisiting existing ones in surprising ways. Best examples are the flexible solar panels applied to clothing by Dutch designer Pauline Van Dongen and the GPS Shoes by Dominic Wilcox.
The afternoon session kicked in with an exciting panels discussing the power DIY and opensource platform is giving to the broader audience. Democratization that is empowering the general public with a new set of tools and possibilities to develop knowledge and self-sufficiency as Zoe Romano from the arduino team points out.
SmartCitizen is a platform that I’ve personally kept checking for the past few months for its intrinsic future potentials. And I was incredibly grateful to discover Tomas Diez on the last panel of the day. He argued how allowing the general public to collect environmental data about CO2, NO2, temperature, humidity and so on could change the way we look at our lives.
Dominic Wilcox was the last speaker of the day for an amazingly fresh and greatly lighthearted talk about his unusual way of seeing London and life. Take a chance to check is blog full of fantastic little ideas and witty drawing. Truly creative.
To conclude the conference the fantastic wearable future’s team put together a wonderful exhibition asking a diverse range of international artists to create works around the topic of wearable. Surveillance seemed to be the underlying creative agenda of the artists with a series of project to help protect people’s identity and privacy.