You know what's better than a smartwatch? Literally everything else. But especially: the centuries' worth of wrist-mounted paint palettes worn by some artists.
Some of these are humble affairs (a bit of masonite with a thumb-hole) while others are super-elaborate, mounted on watch-straps, with hinged bodies, unfolding trays, and even high-end, $1225 brass or silver Sketcher boxes with foldaway thumb-rings, water reservoirs, and up to 14 paint wells.
As Rain Noe notes on Core 77 these things are at the nexus of DIY and design, relentlessly functional, and extremely beautiful. They would make for great design school projects:
- The object has clear utility for the end user, and very specific practical requirements
- It requires some human factors work for the interface (i.e. how do you securely hold it?)
- It's small enough that a student could manufacture a prototype in the school's shop
- The extant examples of this object span from $15 plastic Wal-Mart objects up to $1,000-plus luxury items, giving the students a wide range in how they want to execute
- At most design schools, there are nearby Painting majors who could be interviewed and used for testing different designs, providing important feedback
Unusual Product Design: Functional, Technology-Free Wearables for Fine Artists [Rain Noe/Core 77]
(Image: House of Hoffman)
I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
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