Students at The New School’s Parsons School of Design and Panasonic Corp. have joined forces to unveil two wellness wearable prototypes at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Tex., next week.
The MFA candidates and undergrads worked with Game Changer Catapult, Panasonic’s innovation acceleration team, to finesse the Göbie bracelet, which is designed to trigger impromptu opportunities to play. Using haptic feedback, gesture recognition and a visual LED language, the device encourages users to interact in person. Its connected app recognizes when other Göbie users are nearby and “prompts a spontaneous play experience that fosters a sense of community no matter the location.”
Panasonic linked up the students with business leaders, engineers and a UX designer in its acceleration team. The aspiring designers are from Parsons’ MFA Industrial Design and MFA Design and Technology programs as well as the one for the BBA Strategic Design and Management programs. They decided on wearables that are meant to enhance social interaction and to help wearers catch a better night’s sleep.
With a blizzard of events, parties, all-night gaming, talks, networking opportunities, festivals and performances running March 10 to 19, SXSW could be a prime time to try Sleepwise, a compact device with an app that helps wearers create a personally designed environment at home or on the road to improve their sleep. Using a sensing device and app that controls the user’s smart home and IoT devices, Sleepwise uses the information to create similar conditions for his or her preferred environment. Organizers no doubt won’t want Sleepwise anywhere near the crowds who turn up for conversations with Garth Brooks, Buzz Aldrin or Joe Biden and his wife Jill.
SXSW attendees can give Göbie and Sleepwise a try at Panasonic House at Parkside at 301 East 6th Street from March 11 to 14.
The project’s point person, Parsons Design Lab director Anu Malhotra, said, “As embedded technology becomes more prevalent, Parsons is training young designers to use it for social good. Collaborating across disciplines — in this case, breaking down the boundaries between designers and technologists — and working with a leading technology company such as Panasonic is great way of furthering this approach.”
Akimoto Nobuhiro, who leads wellness support innovation initiatives for Panasonic, said the SXSW debut will be “the first step toward getting them to market and into the hands of consumers, who can use them to transform the way they manage wellness.”