This project was an RSA Student Design Awards live brief. The brief had the heading of ′Wearing Intelligence 2.0′. The brief was to develop a design solution that utilises ′advanced textiles′ (fabrics that have been enhanced by new technologies) to improve wellbeing or the quality of people′s lives. The brief asks us to explore the world of advanced and smart textiles, and to find an application where their use can offer a significant benefit to the user, or even society as a whole. How can textiles be used to keep us safer? Support our health and well-being? Help us communicate? Transport us faster? Reduce our environmental impact? Think how physical products could interact seamlessly with connected and digital worlds. As this is a live brief, submitted to the RSA competition, they had their own set of submission requirements. The deliverables included: An A3 PDF Hero image with 1 sentence description, an A3 PDF Big Idea summary (a page summarising what the solution is, the specific area of need it addresses, and how we arrived at the solution), 4 x A3 PDF boards outlining our proposal, a 10 page A3 PDF of supporting material (additional material illustrating the development process) and finally any links to videos.
Working in a pair with Dominic, we started the task by doing some research in to what ′smart materials′ actually are and have a look at the current wearable market. A lot of the existing products felt very clunky and almost ′add-ons′, therefore not very seamless. Through a lot of scientific research in to how smart materials work and how these effects can be triggers and responded, we could generate some ideas. Our idea that we liked the most was ′an intelligent sports kit′ where the idea was to create a kit that could monitor the athlete′s levels and predicted any injury such as cramp or muscle fatigue. After talking with someone in the science field, he told us to maybe strip it back to one item of clothing, and one area to focus on. From there, we came up with Exo: A seamless, muscle monitoring system for athletes. Exo comes in the form of a pair of compression shorts. The shorts monitor the 3 main variables that are factors in getting cramp: sweat pH levels, skin temperature & muscle movement. These measurables are processed on an onboard processor and, if the short′s processor can sense cramp, data is relayed to both colour changing OLED′s on the shorts, and in to a data-centred mobile application. Overall the project was a huge success and we are very happy with the outcome.