My vision is to create communicative smart textiles that are able to provoke interactive peripheral experiences, with the purpose to reduce the current visual overload and to make more use of our physiological perceptive capacity. A child on average is exposed to screens more than seven hours a day (Rideout, 2010). More and more studies show that excessive exposure to screens causes brain damage and sensory overload which often leads to a hyper aroused nervous system or a lack of restorative sleep. We seem to uncover an increasing amount of evidence pointing out the negative impacts of screens in our everyday lives, yet they are inevitable and unmissable in today's developed society. I envision a future where messages, functions and other everyday interactions with our environment can be perceived through the use of our physiological senses initiated by smart interactive surfaces. This way we would potentially be able to create a world that we can seamlessly interact with and feel more connected to. Seeing the opportunity, understanding the severance of the current health situation and having a passion for design I believe it is partly my ethical duty to create, stimulate and provide people with these alternative types of interfaces. Not only to provide options, but also to aid in the improvement of health of the overall worldly community.
In this era of technological revolution I envision the possibility for smart materials to be dynamic interfaces that are able to adjust to the required circumstances. Another word for these smart (non- screen) interfaces could be the modern analog. Using aesthetics in a way that is not only valued by users but also justified by science. The way we design in the future is to take into consideration the science behind the motivations of certain interactions as well as what biological and neurological reactions are produced by certain motions, aesthetics and interactions. I envision a future of knowledgeable designers working closely with scientists from many different disciplines to understand and interpret this knowledge to achieve efficient, effective and pleasurable designs.
Over the course of my academic career I was able to define and develop this vision. Initially I increasingly became more interested in the fabrication and implementation of electronics in textiles and its implementation in design projects. First, this domain was sparked by my interest in fashion, consequently by doing an internship at by-wire.net, a fashion / technology company during my bachelor, I learned that there is a market for intelligent textiles. This demand is generated by both technology focused companies and fashion focused companies. After attending Fabricademy hosted by The Waag Society I realised that most of the electronic textiles presented today are very experimental, low fidelity, and therefore failed to communicate its value to design companies. I decided to do an internship at Mercedes-Benz to be able to create a better understanding on how the development of new technologies within the car interior is handled, specifically in its soft (textile) materials. This experience reinforced the previous statement of companies not being able to implement the intelligent textiles because of their immature development state or for them to have a too “artsy” appeal. An (indirect) result is that they’re inclined to look for screen based interface innovations. Additionally, because screens make everything easy to understand and easy to interact with, people don’t seem to ask for these alternative methods. Therefore I believe that this shift towards these sensory interfaces should be market pushed, in other words, for designers to provide people with something they initially do not implicitly ask for. This belief allows me to determine where and in what sort of company I would like to carry out this future vision. I would like to work in a company or create a company that works on development projects for bigger companies so that we can inspire these companies to approach things in a certain way without initially having to focus on the financial feasibility of the commercial products. Working on projects with different companies allows one to have a horizontal impact on the industry, while providing in depth (alternative) solutions.