Students at KEA have created a jewellery device which allows partners of pregnant women to feel the movements of their unborn baby. IdemoLab introduced the students to hardware and designing for meaningfulness for smart products, and helped one group of students create a company.

Lead Specialist Vanessa Julia Carpenter from IdemoLab at FORCE Technology has recently acted as guest teacher, and mentor to the students of KEA (Copenhagen School of Design and Technology) in their jewellery design & wearables program.

11 groups created ‘jewellery devices’ which followed IdemoLab’s process of ideation, rapid prototyping, in-context evaluation and then were merged with traditional jewellery design methods such as moulding, casting, materials selection and development of 11 beautiful, and useful(!) jewellery devices.

One of the student groups “First Bond Wearables” came out as the winners – the best project in the class for their project “Fibo”: a device for pregnant women’s partners, which allows the partner to feel the movements of the kicking/hiccupping/moving baby, in real time.

The device mimics the baby’s movements

During the course of the project, First Bond Wearables developed a functional prototype of a wrist worn device housing four pearls which rotate to mimic the baby’s movements. They developed a rental-based business model for the third trimester of the pregnancy and conducted user interviews and evaluations.

First Bond Wearables was awarded consultancy hours with FORCE Technology's TestLab. They received early advice regarding regulatory considerations for health care devices, wireless transmissions, reliability considerations and business development aspects.

Since then, Vanessa Carpenter has worked with the group to help them develop their project. The students have now created a company, and are taking their project from the class further, to the Innovation World Cup at the Wearable Technologies conference in Munich in February 2017.

Read more about their work in Politiken’s article on the students De unge skaber selv drømmejobbet.

Design meaningful smart products

This work began in May 2016, as part of a collaboration between Vanessa Julia Carpenter and Petra Ahde-Deal of KEA. Vanessa is exploring designing for meaningfulness as it relates to smart products, and introduced to the class how to work with hardware and think about creating non-screen, tangible, embedded interactive devices which create value and enable meaningful experiences in people’s lives.

The students were introduced to wearables and hardware and taught the basics of Arduino and how to use sensors. In order to both challenge the students and her own work with developing new smart products, Vanessa provided the class with a criterion for their projects, namely:

  • No screens
  • What other than light could be an output?
  • Use interesting / unusual sensors (what can humans not (easily) sense?)
  • Could it be an heirloom device – or how could it exist as a sustainable solution?

The students created 11 intriguing projects which encompassed, in some way or another, these criteria.

‘Jewellery of Tomorrow’ event

In June 2016, in collaboration with Wearable Technologies IdemoLab and KEA created the event “Jewellery of Tomorrow” where the KEA students exhibited their projects and 400 people, including media, attended.

From this, an article was written in DR News (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) on the projects BILLEDER Intelligente smykker til epileptikere samt stressede kvinder, and 3 jewellery magasines featured the works exhibited (See: Design Ure & Smykker magazine (pgs 38-41)).

Would you like to design smart products?

In the coming decade, wearable technology will touch nearly every aspect of our lives and these student projects exemplify the possibilities of using different sensors and the knowledge of design thinking and user experience to create early functional prototypes, which can become much more, as in the case of Fibo, the pregnancy wearable.

At FORCE Technology, we look forward to seeing how Fibo does in the Innovation World Cup for Wearable Technologies. We also look forward to discussing how to design for meaningfulness for companies, who are interested in developing smart products.