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)
Librecorps is a program based at the Rochester Institute for Technology's Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiative that works with UNICEF to connect students with NGOs for paid co-op placements where they build and maintain FOSS tools used by nonprofits.
Connor Krukosky's lifelong hobby was collecting and refurbishing superannuated computing equipment, which is surprisingly cheap provided you have a lot of space -- Krukosky scored things like keypunch machines for a mere $7 (though he had to drive 1,000 miles roundtrip to get it home).
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