February 20, 2014
Smart Glasses Design Takes Charrette
: President Uscher presents the enormous check to Team C3. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Team C3: Renée Legaux, Sriras Johnson, and Linda Mortensen. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Left to right: judge Jane Allan, design professor Natalia Ilyin, President Nancy J. Uscher, and interim design chair Jeff Brice. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Samantha Grim of Team Easy Kitchen presents the team's ideas, right, team member Tyler Loback. Photo by Mark Bocek.
: Jamie Azimova presnts the work of Team Golden Community Center flanked by team member Sam Maxwell and C3's Renée Legaux. Photo by Mark Bocek.
Design for Social Change announces the winning team for their charrette project titled The Janet Challenge: it’s Team C3.
Cornish President Nancy J. Uscher presented the coveted over-size $500 check to the winners of this year’s Design for Social Change charrette. The project title the four teams worked on was “The Janet Challenge,” named for a friend of professor Natalia Ilyin of Cornish’s Design Department. Janet is in her ‘80s and her changing needs were offered as the inspiration for Ilyin’s Design for Social Change class. Students were challenged to break the barriers of understanding and imagine products and environments to enhance the quality of life of aging America. The winning team, C3, spec’ed out multi-functional glasses extending the capabilities of Google Glass-type technology to create an enhanced, tunable sensory environment for wearers. The idea is cutting edge: melding sight and audio improvement with computer display technology. C3’s members were Renée Legaux (DE ’15), Sriras Johnson (DE ’14), and Linda Mortensen (DE ’14).
President Uscher congratulated all the participants, noting the importance of their collective work and the direction of the Design Department. Professor Ilyin quoted Susan Szenasy, the Executive Editor of Metropolis Magazine, referring to an afternoon with the Design for Social Change class: “The future is in good hands.”
“Your ears won’t believe your eyes,” read the copy for the product prospectus created by the group. “Introducing C3, a new line of smart glasses that uses cutting edge technology to convert sight into sound. C3 glasses are designed to help millions with Macular Degeneration Disorder (MDD), or other visual impairments, live a more stable life by way of audio-sight sensory conversion. RESRLI has augmented the latest versions of high grade technology, such as object recognition, laser range finder, micro monitors, and audio feedback, modified them, and created the concept of C3 spectacles. These glasses would have access to a library of objects, and once recognized by the C3 system, would relay the information in words. … The advantages of the C3 system is that it is a non invasive product that can be adjusted, allowing the user to continue normal routines while C3 takes in the world for them with attention to technical detail.”
Design professor Julie Myers spoke for the charrette judges when she called C-3 a “Marvelous study of possibilities for individual confidence over personal environments. Can get expensive for all who are worried about health care cost. Enjoyed the reach for innovation. … C-3 Glasses … allows for the most freedom of choices including safety.”
Runners up were team Easy Kitchen, made up of Ellie Maxwell (DE ’15), Samantha Grim (DE ’14), Tyler Loback (DE ’14), and Brianna Baylis (DE ’14). Their goal was to “Create a company which provides organization inside of a home to improve the daily life of Janet. First, improve the organization of the home, specifically the kitchen. Improving organization of the counter space so all cooking utensils and dishware are easily accessible. Janet’s limited mobility would not allow her to bend down or reach for items in cabinets that may not be organized. Utilizing the counter space would allow her to have a system for all of her items and if her eyesight continues to get worse she could continue to utilize this system. Second, we will provide sensors which send an auditory cue for many of the cooking items in her kitchen. A watch will provide motion sensors which are connected to items in Janet’s kitchen. This will limit the re organization of her home. Sensors near her utensils, spices, and stove tops will give auditory cues so that Janet can still cook, but it will be easier with her poor eyesight.”
Accepting the congratulations of President Uscher and interim design chair Jeff Brice were teams Golden Community Center and Hobnob. Golden Community Center was made up of Jamie Azimova (DE ‘15), Sam Maxwell (DE ‘15), and Jessaka Parmley (DE ‘15); Hobnob featured Robert Baxter (DE ‘15), Kaire Shiowaki (DE ‘15), and Ron Perry (DE ‘14).
Judging the charrette were, along with Julie Myers, Jane Allan, an advocate for the aging just retired from Bainbridge Island Senior Services, Rhiyadth Al-Kahzily of Synapse, and Jeff Brice.
This is the third year of the charrette. “It is important to me that our students think of all kinds of design as various aspects of the same kind of thinking,” says Natalia Ilyin. “Design’s not decoration, it’s not an extra or a luxury, but a way to make life better for people— a way to make life more comfortable or more beautiful, safer, happier, more edgy or interesting—more joyous. I was happy that each one of the charette projects does at least one of those things. Some do all.
Professor Ilyin continued. “The students work in teams on this project, and they have only a few days to complete the charette. I love watching them bond as a team, figure out responsibilities, make work, and present it all in a very few days. They prove to themselves how much they can do quickly, and they don’t have time to second-guess themselves.
“I love teaching Design for Social Change because it’s a combo-plate of sociology, psychology, graphic, object, motion and interior design. It’s one of those classes that combines disciplines— it exists in a lot of planes at one time—just as real life does.”
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