Accessory Approach

An ‘Accessory approach’ is a term that started occurring in the last five months of my PhD work. The term is included in my latest reflections for a paper that will be submitted on the 16th of April to the International Symposium for Wearable Computers conference. I am writing together with Sarah Kettley, who I had the honour of following as part of a seven weeks Erasmus Traineeship at Nottingham Trent University in England (NTU).

The stay at NTU has given me a lot of interesting connections and insights, especially the “An Internet of Soft Things” project lead by Sarah. The project opened my eyes for new ways to include a Person-Centred approach, when designing future wearable technology to be embedded in soft materials.


Taking part in two workshops and transcribing four previous workshops was of great value to understand the prospect of the project. The workshops was facilitated around craft based co-design activities, as enablers of dialogues of personal preferences within soft materials embedded with technology eg. the Internet of Things (IoT).

This could for example be the need for informing a loved one, of your level of anxiety in a specific situation. Wearing fx a broach your information could be passed on with a touch of the broche, who through the IoT , would be connected to an object of your loves one, who then could see (through the LED lights) your level of anxiety. The workshops also facilitated conversations of intimate character, to frame real needs of mental health service users, and their relatives, as well as establishing better insight into the IoT and wearable devices.

In the paper we introduce the term to inform the design of future wearable health technology, as we tend to examine the potential of an accessory approach to include pragmatic, emotional and philosophical strands of enquiry, which could improve the access to and the experience of wearable health technology as part of a person’s lifeworld, and the vision of an extended care system.

The project is one out of three cases, we analyse and discuss in our paper. The other two, are the teaching project “Intimacy in Accessories” which is part of my PhD project “Intimacy, Accessories and Wearables” at Kolding Design School.

The last case is the interesting BESiDE project, lead by Dundee University. BESiDE stands for The Built Environment for Social inclusion through the Digital Economy – and especially the project about “Co-designing appealing wearables with care home residents”, written by Nevay and Lim in 2015, is of huge inspiration to me.

It will be exiting to see if the blind review of our paper, is of interest of the ISWC people 😉 On the other hand, who can say no to these two selfies?


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