As London Tech Week officially kicked off yesterday, I headed down to the Royal College of Art for a private viewing of the graduate exhibition – slightly gutted that I’m missing the chance to see Portugal getting annihilated by Germany. The minute I walked through the door, however, the football fan in me gave way to the techie enthusiast. The show proved to be a true festival of innovation, with graduates showcasing their final year projects in art, engineering, technology and design, in hope of impressing a potential investor or securing a job in their respective sectors. Some of the projects were very promising – below I’ve picked the three that really caught my eye.
Deception, designed by Mikolaj Dymowski, is a project that aims to minimise the discomfort and anxiety that sufferers from claustrophobia experience while using elevators. It’s an elegant looking panel, which uses light, sound and air to create an illusion of being outdoors – thus minimising the fear of confined spaces. Although still in a concept phase, it has the potential to be installed in any commercial lift and the trials proved it’s successful in making claustrophobia sufferers feel more comfortable using lifts. A simple, yet very powerful idea.
Designed by Ashley Wiltshire, Abel goes against the common notion that technology tends to alienate people. The aim of Abel is to help isolated elderly people re-enter the society and find enjoyment in everyday activities. Abel uses 3D graphics and a VR headset from Oculus, to recreate scenarios that each participating pensioner holds dear – such as being outdoors or hiking. By allowing the elderly to experience the outdoors in a non-intimidating way, it helps encourage them to re-engage with the society.
lineful was one of my favourite non health-tech related projects. Designed by Zack Mitchell, lineful calculates the speed with which you read and measures your concentration through the use of a complicated algorithm. This allows it to determine which parts of the article are read and understood by the readers, and which ones are skimmed over. It is then able to highlight the parts of the article that need re-reading in order to improve the understanding of the whole piece. Interestingly, lineful can also give each piece of writing an “article score” – an indicator of the quality of the content and the ease of following the main thought of the article. lineful could become a really powerful tool – especially for those who regularly produce content. If you want to see how engaging is a piece you’ve written recently, you can run a quick check here: http://www.lineful.com/ (although the website doesn’t seem to be fully complete and lacks explanation of what a good content engagement score is).
It was fascinating to see all the creative and innovative projects from these young designers. Many of them will, no doubt, end up being snatched up by a tech start-up, one of thousands on the bubbling London tech scene. If you want to see the projects for yourself, the exhibition opens to the public today and will be running until the 29th of June. This one is a definite win.
Photo credit: See-ming Lee on Flickr