Show RCA 2016: 6 future wearable tech and smart home concepts

From smart imaginary friends to ocean pollution wearables, here's the best on show
Wearable concepts from the RCA

It's graduate show season and having checked out Central Saint Martins' Show 2 last week, we've turned our attention to Show RCA where wearable tech and smart home concepts from Royal College of Art and Imperial students are on display.

We checked out all manner of quirky, thoughtful, bonkers and confusing projects - here's our edits of the most promising, and most fun design ideas and prototypes at the show.

If you want to check out the projects for yourself, and meet the students behind them, head to the RCA's Kensington site in London before the show closes on 3 July. It's open daily from 12 to 8pm.

Wisp

We've seen connected sex toys before but nothing like Wisp. The collection is the work of Wan Ting Tseng, an Innovation Design Engineering student, and aims to prioritise women's sexual desire and arousal.

The soft, delicate and flexible accessories serve different functions - a pulsing 'touch' on the arm, 'airy kisses' on the shoulder or back of the neck or perfume released from a modular necklace. Sexy not silly.

Project desAIner

Yuri Klebanov's Project desAIner takes smart headphones as an example of his Big Data focused design process. The idea is that designers use data to build responsive 'phygital' products. So you start off with a pair of headphones then when user personas are broken down you get one version for cyclists (with bone conduction audio, streaming and gesture controls) and one version for gamers (with a pulse sensor which affects excitement levels of content and vibration motors), all based on the same initial device.

It's actually a blueprint for how wearable tech companies could cater to very specific needs and save money in production. Smart. Klebanov's group project is also interesting - it's a vibro tactile language called Vito.

Be My Mother

Can smart home devices be cute? That's the question that Hyerim Shin is asking in her final Design Products project. So there's a smart toaster that sneezes out crumbs, a robot vacuum cleaner that poops out a dust bag when it's full and a trash bin that plays hide and seek when it's nearly full.

The aim is to "encourage care and maintenance without feeling like a chore" with emotionally durable products.

Hirde

There's so many adorable aspects to Hirde, from Innovation Design Engineering student Lori Ho, we don't know where to begin. First, the design is custom, based on sketches on kids' imaginary friends.

It's a smart night lamp, and accompanying app, that encourages imagination, storytelling and problem solving. And it acts as a bridge between parents and children by interacting with kids to monitor their wellbeing.

Raiden

It wouldn't be a degree show without an exoskeleton, and Raiden certainly is intriguing. The project is by Kourosh Atefipour, on the MA in IDE course, and it aims to put "raw energy" and lightning, in the form of electrodes, at our human fingertips.

The bionic arm goes some way to bridging the gap between man and gadget, no wonder when the designer's bold vision extends to evolving "our ability to transcend humanity".

Limpet

There were plenty of social and environmental minded wearable tech projects at the Show RCA. Limpet, by MA Design Products student Alexander Loudon, is an ocean pollution sensor.

It attaches to anything that goes in the water - including you - then monitors water quality and waste water via PH probes and temperature sensors, a GPS tracker and Arduino. This info is sent back to your smartphone and Limpet pushes localised updates to Twitter for specific bays and beaches.

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