Significant wearable health design

If you are interested in the  discourse of design that meet the needs of persons with different physical, cognitive and sensory abilities, take a look at the “Access+Ability” collection exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York, until September 2018.

Portrayed below, are some of the exhibited wearable health designs, that all fit into the category of accessory design. As well as the featured image; A hearing aid designed as a Jewellery by  Elana Langer.


The curator of the exhibition, Cara McCarty, presents different design objects that all gives more accessibility for the wearer. This means well designed objects that reflects on how we should design for a broader perspective; personal and cultural fitted preferences, in the area of special or diverse needs.

I visited Cara, and we had an interesting talk about the particular design discourse in the area that we are both fascinated and frightened of. What stroke me the most was these three insights;

1. Cara said that there is still a need to developed a certain language to describe the area. (You might have noticed that in this post, I call ‘it’ many different terms; designing for diversitet, inclusive design or empathic design. Look at this post, to see a historical timeline of how the different terms developed.

2. Youth today, don’t wanna hide the wearable medical devices, they wanna call them what they are and show them, as they look.

3. Never before, has there been so much attention around the field of inclusive design, empathic design, or whatever your would like to call it.

Cara has been in the curatorial design field of this, since the late 80es, when she curated the MoMa exhibition “Design for Independent Living”.

I am working on two things in this direction – firstly I am involved in a funding application together with Design School Kolding and the castle of Koldinghus,  who holds the largest collection of Danish contemporary jewellery – and which has never been put on show! The collaboration is meant to explore how traditional jewellery design practices can inform and inspire future health design for the body. This in collaboration with Parsons School of Design and the Cooper Hewitt design museum, with the help of the Danish General Consulate in New York. When the feedback come from the funding application – Ill let you know how we will execute the project together with several stakeholders, professional jewellery designers and accessory design/industrial design students and researchers – from both Parsons and Design School Kolding.

The other project I am working on, is my article based thesis – titled “Intimacy, Accessory Design and Wearable Medical Devices”. The deadline is March 2019 – so time is running… As of today, where I am on my way to the Human Computer Interaction conference, CHI, in Montreal, to present the paper “Presenting The Accessory Approach: A Start-up’s Journey Towards Designing An Engaging Fall Detection Device”. Ill stay in Canada for a short week, also to visit Ottawa and the Carleton University. Here Ill be hosted by Professor Lois Frankel who explores wearables, elderly and sensory anthropology – and has a jeweller background…

In the next blog post I’ll report on these adventures! See you then.

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