Wearable technology is changing rapidly—pushing out from the lab, into the streets, and onto the wrists, shoes, and faces of the general public. As the current generation of consumer wearables gives way to the next, the reach and variety of devices will see unprecedented growth; finding new applications and new audiences, integrating new forms and new garments, and exposing new streams of data to be processed and understood. Yet, the challenge to design these wearables is complex; embedding high performance electronics into comfortable, fashionable garments pushes the limits of our current knowledge of digital, textile, and design technologies.
Wearables now represent the most intimate devices ever created, and designers are called on to build and challenge the connection between the body and this deeply personal technology. Our goal is to bring together the people who are investing in this new space, who care about the role of design and designers in wearable technology, and who want to gather to learn from each other.
The 2015 Georgia Tech Symposium on Design & Wearable Technology featured speakers, panels, workshops, a design exhibit, and an opening reception. Each of these events focused on the role of design in wearable technology, and addressed topics across these common themes:
- Exploration and the Future
- Applications on the Body
- Technology for Design
- Materials & Processes
- Prototype to Production
- Personalization & Customization
- Humanizing the Quantified Self
- Culture & Social Impact
This symposium was hosted by the School of Industrial Design and sponsored by the College of Architecture.
The School of Industrial Design opened the Interactive Product Design Lab in the Fall of 2011. Founded as both a teaching and research facility, the lab provides ID faculty students and researchers with hands-on access to explore and prototype ideas and applications for new sensor-based technologies. Wearable technologies have become a primary focus for the lab, with investigations into prototyping materials and processes. Over the past two years students working with the lab have won several international awards and grants including Jury Prizes at ISWC 2013 and 2014.