Workshop: Co-designing Wearable Health Technologies with Leah Heiss and Katherine Bond

Designing Health Technologies

Australian Design Centre, Sydney

6-8pm Thursday 14 April

As part of the final iteration of ADC’s major touring exhibition, CUSP: Designing into the Next Decade, featured health technology designer Leah Heiss joined forces with exhibition designer Katherine Bond to engage 30 enthusiastic participants in designing technologies for better health and wellbeing.

In this sold out event, Leah and Katherine challenged members of the public with the questions, what makes a good wearable health technology and how can we improve or re-envision such technologies?

Leah described two approaches - prototypes that facilitate greater intrapersonal awareness through tapping into bio-data, or other bodily information and transforming this into wearable outcomes, such as biofeedback technology; and interpersonal projects that focus on connecting people, such as those that augment our hearing, vision, tactile awareness or other senses to regular or extra human levels.

After hearing from Leah and Katherine about their design practices and philosophies, participants were guided through interactive ‘co-design’ techniques to generate approaches to solving real-world health issues. In small groups, participants developed prototype technologies for sensing, drug delivery or augmenting sensory information (hearing, vision, tactility etc.). Ideas were sketched and prototyped using everything from pencil and paper, to play dough and Magiclay to model and test designs. Leah and Katherine encouraged devices, artefacts and wearables that augment our understanding of the world and suggest new ways to understand the self, others and the environment. The brilliant ideas presented at the end of the evening generated a lively discussion.