Two members of the THINK team, James Hallam, Digital Strategist and Alison McKenna, Experience Designer, have won the functional category in the Design Exhibition at the 18th annual International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC).
ISWC is the premier conference dedicated to showcasing leading edge research and technology in wearable computing. The conference brings together fashion designers, researchers, textile manufacturers, developers and related design professionals to share knowledge, thought leadership, discussion and debate around the exploration of possibilities for on-body and worn mobile technologies.
James, a PhD student at Georgia Tech and Alison, a recent Masters in Industrial Design (MID) student, collaborated with fellow Georgia Tech colleagues Mudit Gupta, Christa Lee, and Emily Keen to design Ballet Hero, a wearable garment for memetic embodiment in dance learning. It was developed as a research project from the Interactive Product Design Lab at Georgia Tech, and was supervised by Professor Jim Budd, Chair of the School of Industrial Design.
Ballet Hero seeks to incorporate common techniques from animation, such as keyframes and tweening, to help ballet instructors communicate complex movements to their students through visual feedback. This ideally would help students stay in the flow of the dance, which enhances learning and retention.
This short video shows Ballet Hero in action.
The next iteration of Ballet Hero will be brought into a dance studio environment for usability testing. The team hopes that the findings from garment production and from contextual testing to inform the design of a finalized garment that meets the long-term goal of an automated system.
The exhibit was mounted in the Sky Church space in the Experience Music Project, at the center of a gala dinner for the conference. The video shown on a three-story screen, with the garments displayed below for attendees to examine up close.
The entire design exhibition from ISWC will be transferred and remounted at the Studio 99 Gallery at Microsoft Research and will be on display for the next six weeks. James will be on site for the event opening. The detailed research and design publication accompanying Ballet Hero is accessible via the ACM digital library.
This is the second year in a row that James has brought home the functional prize from ISWC for his stroke rehabilitation gloves. Everyone at THINK congratulates James, Alison and their extended team at Georgia Tech on this award – although none of us is surprised by their success. We are honored to have such talented people at THINK and we look forward to working with them on more leading edge projects in the future.