Central Saint Martins in London's Granary Square is a fabulous hotbed of future design. Neighboured by Google and buzzing with young minds, there are thousands of cutting edge projects forming inside every day like stars in a nebula.
CSM Show 2 is when those very best concepts take form, the doors to this branch of the University of the Arts are flung open and all are invited in to see the newborns.
Essential reading: Check out last year's best CSM wearables
Naturally, we went down to see what was going on in the way of wearables. We highly recommend that you do too. CSM Show 2 is open to the public from 22-25 June 2016.
Breastfeeding isn't as easy as it looks, and why have you been looking anyway? Nipples get cracked and sore, the milk ducts become swollen and mastitis can set in - and that's when it's going well. Julie Choi's Ferm U is a one-piece suit which delivers electrotherapy to those bits that need it. Through this and a little in-built back massage, it soothes the pain that the increase in female hormones can cause and eases those postnatal aches too; no drugs, no lotions, no side-effects and the ability to turn up and down the intensity from the companion app as needed.
As lo-fi a wearable as you can get, Pulse isn't a whole lot more than a stethoscope with an app but seeing as someone could box it up nicely and sell it under the banner of mindfulness, then it may as well be Juo Tzu Chan. Pop it on your chest, stick in your earphones, trigger the app and let the world melt away as you tune into your own inner rhythm. Mmmm. There it is. Just like you're back in the womb. That'll be fifty bucks, please.
Little lights that go up and down inside a beautiful bell jar. Up and down. Up and down in a little ballet until you start breathing to the same hypnotic rhythm and eventually you fall asleep entirely at peace with the world and not at all bothered by that 9am meeting you're going to have to bluff your way through. Will it work? Do we want to stare at something on our bedside table for that long, presuming our bedside table has enough surface area to house such a thing? Maybe not, but Søvn is a lovely piece of engineering by Louise Kaiser.
Wake Up and smell the coffee is the literal modus operandi of this alarm clock. It's small, it's soft, it plays music to you and it scents your boudoir with a coffee flavoured room diffuser when it picks up that lots of your friends and followers on your social channels begin their tweets and updates. So, you get up when your social circle gets active. It would be nice if it made ACTUAL coffee, but it's certainly a refreshing change.
Haosen Xu has had a rather bold attempt at tackling one of the big problems in treating PTSD - namely that the patients don't really talk very openly and honestly to those trying to help them. The rather crude mirror is a listening device which records their thoughts much like a video diary. After all, if you can't be straight with yourself then who can you talk to?
Obviously, though, it's the VR goggles embedded into the pillow that caught our attention. If a soldier's experiencing a flashback to the battlefield, they can bury their heads in this and instead witness a recording of themselves doing something normal like making a cup of tea as pre-recorder by a device on the wall.
Definitely the best in show as far as we were concerned, Indogs VR is the far out solution for a futuristic problem. Overcrowded cities and small living spaces is a predicted big issue for the next 20 years which means not an awful lot of room to walk your dog. Ruxin Zhang's suggestion is a tethered tour of town without leaving your home. And to make sure that your pooch doesn't get cabin fever, you pop on some special doggy goggles with included POV videos of the most amazing stroll ever. Not sure they're going to buy it without the smells, though.
The Harmony Lamp
The recently abolished one-child policy in China is so well engrained into the population's psyche, according to Qian Qiu, that people don't really consider having more kids even still. The Harmony Lamp is designed to get them all randy and seemingly cause a few more happy accidents. It sets the mood for your love. A little lighting, some Barry White and, apparently, your sexy hormones go into overdrive. Viagra not included.
Dementia Simulator does pretty much what it says on the tin of a can you'd never want to buy. It's designed to bring a little understanding and whole lot more sympathy to carers for those with this condition. It's a fairly extreme sounding head-mounted experience which dulls and confuses all five of your senses by encasing your head in a large box and then distorting all the stimuli on their way through.
Ultrasonic intra-body communication
Don't rely on some app to tell you how many steps you've taken when you can, very literally, listen to your heart and hear how fit you are at any given moment. Lesley-Ann Daly is interested in the rise of implantable sensors and hopes that ultrasonic intra-body communication is the answer to truly getting in touch with oneself. Your stomach will let you know how good your diet is and your liver will tell you itself when it's time to take a break. We also love her amusing take on headphones.
Ready for bonkers? Ok, so Pamm Hong has a borderline abstract concept of some software that can create our own personal virtual worlds based on our web browser history. All of our cookies and digital footprints will get translated into a VR landscape which we can then travel and get some kind of more telling experience of what our consumption and our lives are really all about and then presumably change them based on the total horrors that we find. Expect cats and naked celebrities to be prominent features - well, certainly in mine.
Maritta Nemsadze's exoskeleton clothing isn't so much wearable technology as a wearable anti-technology. Having our neck's craned onto our mobile screens all day could lead to some nasty posture side-effects in our spines and on our hands. These outer supports force the wearer to keep their chins up and their shoulders backed as modelled by the little skeleton in the pic. I'm not sure you'd catch us voluntarily sporting anything quite like that but perhaps it's a first step towards having some kind of more rigid support in clothing.
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