An Introduction to the Evolution of Wearable Computers for Industrial Designers
Lois Frankel, School of Industrial Design, Carleton University, Canada
Wearable computing has become a field of its own, focused on systems that monitor people’s health, connect them to others, augment their physical capabilities, deliver interactive entertainment, and support other networked activities. Though currently led by computer scientists, human interaction specialists, and engineers, this rapidly expanding field could benefit from the expertise of industrial designers. Industrial design can contribute skills and knowledge to optimize the design for human experience, cultural acceptance, and manufacturability. To date, however, industrial design rarely shows up in any search of publications in the wearable computing field. For example, in the Proceedings of the Ninth IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers in 2005, 46 papers were published, two of which document a design investigationi. In each of those cases, the focus was on fashion design.
This paper is intended for the industrial design educator and industrial designer, providing information about the field of wearable computing, highlighting exciting advances in connecting people to remote information, places and people. It identifies the areas in which industrial design skills and knowledge could play a significant role in design development.