21 : 01 : 22 : Weekly Debrief

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Need To Know

This week: Pushing the boundaries of design education, a metaverse vest, a device for at-home recycling, a robot that replaces human chefs and Nike brings extreme climates to retail stores.

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21 January 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Nike FIT ADV at House of Innovation Paris, France


Useful School, Global

1. Useful School pushes the boundaries of design education

Global – Designed specifically for people of colour, Useful School is a new pay-what-you-can online design curriculum championing a next-gen approach to education.

Launched in response to the sustained under-representation of people of colour in the design sector, the school follows a curriculum that is built from the ground up to focus on equity. As its founder Ritesh Gupta explains: ‘We’re divesting – we have classes centring people of colour the whole way through, from constraining certain projects to utilise fonts by people of colour to helping students rally around answering questions that people of colour face at work.'

Kicking off with two classes based around product design, Useful School intends to help students build a portfolio and hone their personal style, while ensuring it's accessible to all. To do this, it operates under a pay-what-you-can model.

With everything from its syllabus to branding diverging from traditional academia, Useful School is an inspiring example of the emerging education frameworks we identified in Modern (Un)learning, a trend that makes up the Reformation Generation.

MYAMI, Australia

2. CES 2022: A vest that lets gamers ‘feel’ the metaverse

Las Vegas – Adding a new layer of absorption in the digital realm, the OWO Vest uses haptic feedback to allow players to feel the sensations encountered during gameplay.

With over 30 different sensations in its current library – including wind, a gunshot, a dagger wound, and a hug – the wearable garment lets players feel the game on the surface of their skin. Introducing the physical dimension of touch into the virtual realm, the jacket uses software, hardware, and sensors to recreate physical sensations. To maintain full control of the technology, players can use the OWO app to regulate and personalise the intensity of the experience.

Available in six sizes, all weighing less than 800grams, the OWO vest is aiming to capture the imagination of gamers. As companies set up shop in the Metaverse Market, new technologies will help brands create more captivating activations in the digital realm.

Lasso, US

3. CES 2022: A kitchen appliance for recycling at home

Las Vegas – Circumventing the often complicated government guidelines that prevent many well-meaning homeowners from recycling properly, the Lasso Loop takes the circular economy into its own hands. With the mission of preventing reusable materials from ever reaching the landfill, the domestic appliance allows consumers to recycle in their own homes.

Maximising convenience and utility, the Lasso Loop is a compact appliance that recycles seven of the most common plastics, glass and metals. It can clean and decontaminate items, before crushing or shredding them. Once the appliance is full, an app can be used to organise curbside collection. ‘The current curbside recycling system is broken and inefficient, recycling only 9% of goods and requiring relentless mining, extraction and processing of virgin material which perpetuates pollution on our planet,’ explains Aldous Hicks co-founder of Lasso Loop.

While the Lasso Loop's launch price of £2,565 ($3,500, €3,087) makes it a luxury for most homes, its development points to the future of domestic waste management. To read about the other technological innovations poised to enter the domestic space, readers can consult Five Future Home Scenarios for 2050.

4. CES 2022: A robot that replaces human chefs

Las Vegas – Aiming to eliminate the laborious process of food preparation, South Korean innovator Beyond Honeycomb has created an AI-powered robot that can recreate the taste and texture of restaurant-level meals. With the tagline ‘famous chef dishes for everyone’, the kitchen robot has ambitious plans to democratise the fine dining experience.

As the restaurant industry continues to face labour shortages and pandemic-induced closures, Beyond Honeycomb hopes that replacing trained chefs with machines that can be installed in commercials kitchens worldwide will help to free the hospitality sector from its reliance on skilled labour. By analysing the molecular data of a dish while it is cooking, the AI is able to reproduce each meal, memorising new recipes in just 48 hours.

Envisaging a future when chefs are not limited by the constraints of time and geography, Beyond Honeycomb could allow chefs to release recipes that can be reproduced thanks to AI-powered machines. To learn more about the disruptors bridging appetites and algorithms, read our interview with food innovator Alon Chen.

Beyond Honeycomb, South Korea
Nike FIT ADV at House of Innovation Paris, France

5. Nike brings extreme climates to retail stores

Paris – Allowing consumers to experience extreme weather conditions in a contained setting, Nike is teaming up with design studio Modem to create an immersive retail experience that stirs the senses. Unfolding in a purpose-built weather dome inside of Nike’s House of Innovation, the sportswear brand is recreating the sensation of the seasons to showcase its climate adaptive FIT ADV range.

To highlight the versatility and durability of the high-end performance line, Nike is using technology to simulate the experience of travelling between tropical, dry, and polar regions at great speed. Using ambient lighting, multi-directional audio soundscapes, artificial wind, and large-scale interactive environments, Nike can recreate the physical feeling of extreme weather in an indoor setting. A large, high-res LED screen guides consumers through the experience, drawing attention to the specific details of the garment that has been designed to respond to each climate.

Taking the concept of ‘try before you buy’ to new extremes, consumers who trial the experience will be filmed and given a video which they can share on their social media platforms. Using technology to innovate its visual merchandising strategies, Nike is aligning itself with retail's Third-space Storefronts that blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.



To future-proof your world, visit The Future Laboratory's forecasting platform LS:N Global for daily news, opinions, trends, sector specific insights, and strategic toolkits.


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