This year’s International Symposium on Wearable Computers was co-located as is now usual with UbiComp 2019 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Westminster, London, opposite Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, and included an opening reception at the glorious Natural History Museum in Kensington.
I was Chair, with Oscar Tomico of Eindhoven University of Technology, of the 12th annual peer-reviewed ISWC Design Exhibition (DX) and I presented my research on emotive wearables and nonverbal communication at the ISWC/UbiComp workshop, Beyond Individuals: Exploring Social Experience Around Wearables. My presentation included a demonstration of two of my research prototypes for social interaction: the EEG Visualising Pendant and AnemoneStarHeart EEG Pendant.
The ISWC Design Exhibition attracts innovative submissions from practitioners working in the broad field that encompasses wearable technology and e-textiles/fibre art. I have previously exhibited my research prototypes and presented research at six previous ISWCs around the world in Europe, Asia and America. This year I was on the other side of the Design Exhibition experience as Co-Chair and as the event is a huge amount of work, we began planning the DX at the beginning of 2019. The exhibition itself is comprised of three categories:
The Aesthetic Design category focuses on development or application of technology that emphasizes aesthetics and concept. Aesthetic designs may be focused on contributions such as style, the relationship of a visual product to the Zeitgeist of a society, or conceptual aspects of wearing technology.
This category explores the innovative use of wearable technologies to meet a specific need. Functional designs may be focused on contributions such as the innovative use of technology, ergonomics, or technical implementation.
Smart fabrics and interactive textiles are fields that intersect in many instances with wearable technologies. Fiber Arts designers push the boundaries of what is possible using all kinds of machinery and materials. The building blocks on which future wearable innovation is founded.
From an incredible selection of papers and projects submitted in June, reviewers chose sixteen submissions entered by practitioners working across the globe. During the exhibition reception a jury panel awarded prizes for the best rated design in each category. This year’s prizes (below) were crafted by Bruna Goveia, of TU Eindhoven, who created wonderful embroidered awards for us.
The 2019 category winners were:
Aesthetic Design: Touch Mood: GSR and FITI Enabled Wearable (below) by Yimeng Wei, IAAC, Spain, Luis Fraguada, Datable Studio, Spain and Elizabeth Bigger, Datable Studio, Spain.
Functional Design: AWE Goosebumps: Emotional Prosthesis for Animating Awe through Performative Biofeedback (below) by Kristin Neidlinger, SENSOREE, USA, Lianne Toussaint, Radboud University, NL, Edwin Dertien, University of Twente, NL, Khiet P. Truong, University of Twente, NL Hermie Hermens, University of Twente, NL and Vanessa Evers, University of Twente, NL.
Fibre Arts: Myco-accessories: Sustainable & Biodegradable Wearables (below) by Eldy S. Lazaro, UC Davis, USA and Katia Vega, UC Davis, USA.
For this year’s Design Exhibition we were keen to explore the notion of “What is wearable technology?” Alongside the exhibited works we ran two discussion forums to discuss wearable technology in the present and future. Our Chair’s statement summed it up in the paragraph below.
“In the past, wearable technologies were seen as part of the realm of computing and electronics engineering. However, in recent years we have witnessed a convergence with functional textiles, digital production, smart materials and bio-materials. The wearables we are presenting at the 12th Annual ISWC Design Exhibition combine one or more of the above areas. For this reason we would like to use the exhibition as the perfect context to have a debate on ‘what is wearable technology today?’”
The discussions were well attended and were packed with passionate and insightful views around perspectives on wearable technology. These sessions were recorded and it is hoped that a paper will be honed from them as a snapshot of current ideas and opinions in 2019, and as a contribution to the community.
A full list of the ISWC Design Exhibition exhibits and links to proceedings can be found on the ISWC 2019 website. Below are some further images of work displayed at the exhibition.