Top 3 Talks at UX Conference “Make Stuff That Works” : Part 1

Still on a high from my first UX Meetup last Monday, I was delighted to see a popup conference coming up called Make Stuff That Works, organized by NetLife Research. There were 7 talks, 100+ UXers, and 1 great afterparty (more details to come).

“WTF Wearables?!” by Lisa Kindred

Liza Kindred, author & fashion tech strategist, is not a fan of hyped-up, novelty wearables. She makes her point by showing a variety of examples that are almost to the point of farfetched, such as:

The Papparazzi Dress:

Papparazzi Dress to prevent the wearer from being photographed

The Cyborg Cap:

Cyclops Hat that lets you display videos to other people

And this beauty, the Tweeting Bra:

It tweets a message every time the hook is unclasped (on the bright side, the point is to raise awareness for breast cancer)

But instead of talking for an hour about why all wearables “suck”, Liza shows us that she thinks there are actually a lot of cool wearables out there that can really make a difference in the world. What constitutes a wearable as being “cool”? Technology that, for example, prevents disease, helps correct color blindness, and can be used as a tool in every country to do things like improving water collection and becoming invisible to mosquitos!

Liza proposes that we live by these 8 values when innovating future wearable technology:

  1. No more novelty – create utility and joy
  2. Future proof that shit!
  3. Provide security
  4. Build for the network (make devices communicate to each other)
  5. Design for humans
  6. Blend fashion with technology (nobody wants to wear something that won’t flatter them)
  7. Narrow the digital circle
  8. Make something the world needs

Two great examples of cool wearable technology that matters are June bracelet (photo below), which is “a UV-tracking bracelet and accompanying app aimed at helping users to better manage their sun exposure and look fashionable doing it”, and the Kite Patch, a patch that block mosquitoes’ ability to track humans.

“Instead of becoming cyborgs, we become more of ourselves.”

She closes her talk by reiterating her belief that wearables do have the ability to make a positive difference in the world, if we choose. 3 questions to ask ourselves when evaluating whether piece of wearable technology can make that positive difference are:

  1. Would I wear this?
  2. Would I keep this charged? and lastly,
  3. Does the world really need this?

To find out more , keep a lookout for Liza’s book coming out later this year about wearables and connected devices.

Next up, my second favorite talk in Part 2: Stay tuned!

Find out more about all the talks here.

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