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Future Wearables 2046: A review by Despina Papadopoulos


The course Future Wearables taught by Despina Papadopoulos asks students to imagine wearable environments for the year 2046, looking into the intersecting spheres of:

* Presence, Awareness, Mindfulness (self),
* Relationships: family, friendship, love (others),
* Environment: space, city, locality (shared space), and
* Other Worlds: remoteness, social responsibility, sustainability (global),

Students working in teams are encouraged to consider what are the systems and principles that support these spheres today and how these will change in the future. This 7-week course aims to articulate the fundamental tension between thinking and making and the inherent responsibility designers and technologists have in creating the future. The devices and services we build today will become the dwellings and material culture that we will inhabit tomorrow. The ethical implications of design and how these are manifested in artifacts, and our bodies, is what the course asks students to explore and develop.


/ SELF /

Could we someday quantify our emotions? How might a “qualified self” manifest in future wearable technology, and what will it mean for society? Coloring is a concept that explores these questions.

Coloring is a hypothetical consumer health product that launches in the year 2046. By then, significant leaps in psychology and neuroscience research will have taken place, transforming our understanding of mental health. Innovations in materials technology will also introduce new possibilities for treatment, such as brain chip implants. Implants may very well become a social norm and be used, among other things, to regulate neurotransmission and hormone levels in the brain.

Coloring is a skin interface for people who use brain chip implants to track and manage their mental health. It communicates with the user’s brain chip to display a real­time visualization of their emotional state, right
in the palm of their hand. Emotions are mapped to a 7000­color spectrum. The spectrum is richer and more precise than our verbal emotional vocabulary, empowering people with a new language to understand their feelings. Rather than having to use blunt and unpredictable prescription drugs, users are given the agency to self­medicate when appropriate. They can simply blend harmonizing colors into their Coloring to balance their mood.


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