Global Grad Show Preempts 2016’s Biggest Trend: Wearable Tech

The world-first Global Grad Show at the inaugural Dubai Design Week presented the most innovative projects from the world’s leading design schools, giving an unprecedented overview of the emerging designers and technologies that will shape the future.

Installation view, Global Grad Show 

From smart lingerie to biometric wool sweaters, wearable technology has become increasingly popular in recent years. Designers have found that by giving equal attention to both technology and garment design they can create smart clothing that is useful and appealing. This notion motivated many of the designers featured in the Global Grad Show exhibition.

Eindhoven University of Technology PhD student Qi Wang presented a vest with embedded sensors that monitor the wearer's posture and alerts them if they become too hunched over. Posture monitoring and correction technologies can support prevention and treatment of spinal pain or can help detect and avoid compensatory movements during the neurological rehabilitation of upper extremities, which is very important to ensure their effectiveness.

"When you wear it you can set a personalised range [of healthy movement]," Wang explains. "Once you're over that range you feel a vibration on your back."

Zishi Posture Sensing Garment, Qi Wang

Tangible Media Group (MIT Media Lab) imagined a world where actuators and sensors could be grown rather than manufactured, derived from nature as opposed to engineered in factories. bioLogic is growing living actuators and synthesizing responsive bio-skin in the era where bio is the new interface. It is the first self-transforming garment that reacts in symbiosis with the human body.  

The bio-hybrid garment is based on the natural phenomenon of hygromorphic transformation and uses living cells as nano-sensors and nano-actuators that are stimulated by the body temperature and humidity change. A bio-printing system and design simulated software were developed to simulate functional transformation and fabrication of the bioLogic’s smart, living materials.

Caili ElynAn from Singapore’s NUS School of Design and Environment designed a shoe insert that gives diabetics health feedback.

Property of the Division of Industrial Design, School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore

Dex consists of a pair of smart insoles that is paired with a health monitoring system and a suite of foot focused games to encourage the use of exercise to manage diabetic conditions through the gamification of fitness routines. The insole’s design offers flexibility in the placement of the sensors to suit different foot types.

It’s 2016 and our relationship to technology is only growing closer. Dubai Design Week anticipates that not only the desire, but the need for wearable tech, will become more prevalent in the next year to span an increase in prototypes that can help us in our daily lives.

You can watch Dezeen’s Global Grad Show overview film here.