Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wearable Solar

 Pauline Van Dongen

Van Dongen, quoted by Ha 2014, had two main inspiratios;

“One of them is the fact that we highly depend on connectivity. We’re all addicted to our smartphones and we want them constantly powered, and the better our batteries get, the more we’ll use them. And at the same time, working as a werable tech designer, I know the difficulties when integrating these kind of bulky batteries that don’t allow for any comfort or wearability. So that’s why I thought, why not power your phone through your clothes? And eventually power other interactive qualities that our garments are becoming a platform for.”

- Anthony Ha. (2014). Wearable Solar’s Prototype Dress Combines Fashion With Phone-Charging Capabilities. Available: http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/06/wearable-solar-dress/. Last accessed 21/10/2014.

Bio-Degradeable Furniture Solutions

Artichoke thistle-fibre reinforced plastic

This chair has been developed using an artichoke thistle-fibre reinforced plastic material, by combining agricultural waste fibres with a new biological epoxy resin, the resulting material is 100% biodegradable, which, when chopped, could also be used as biofuel.




Music Festivals and Mobile Phones

Mobile phones have become an increasingly popular sight at music festivals. As someone who attends Glastonbury Festival every year, i know that my mobile use at the festival has increased dramatically over the years. More and more often when i go see a live music act, whether at a festival or not, there is almost always at least one person watching through the screen of their moile device. Keeping connected through social media is more popular than ever and with instant uploads people want to share their experience then and there, aswell as capture the moment they saw "that band" or the memory of moments with friends. 

In the past i've used my phone until the battery ran out and then left it hidden in my tent for the rest of my time at the festival, but these days im not content with not having my phone on me durring the duration of my festival experience (what if i miss that photo opportunity, what if i cant tell the world what im experiencing, what if i loose my group?!). One of the things i find when using my phone at a festival is charging the thing is an absolute nightmare. Charging tents can be expensive and the ques ive seen for these tents can be rediculous, who wants to spend half their time at a festival queing to charge a phone, but apperently from what i've observed people cant live without their device so much that they are willing to do that. Another option is a plug in device that you put AA bateries in to charge the phone, these seldom work, something i found out at Glastonbury 2014, to much frustration! For the first time this year someone in my group bought a different charging solution, a solar panel charger. The charger was a solid plate about the size of an ipad and plugged straight into the phone, this was fine however finding somewhere to prop the charger became an issue. Not wanting to put the panel or phone on the floor in the notorious Glastonbury mud, the charger was unsuccesfully proped on top of the gazebo, tent and peoples bags, after much faffing around finally someone gave up a chair and the device was propped and positioned in the sun.

Thinking on the problems i have had integrating my essential technology into my festival camping expereince, i was keen to find out if other people had the same struggles and what the genreal consensus was when it came to music festivals and mobile phones. A team from a company called, Mobile Insurance, sent out questionaires to all of its customers who had been to a music festival in 2013 in order to collect some actual quantative data of the current behaviours of people who take their mobile phones to a festival. The data collected by the Mobile Insurance team has been collated and compiled into these funky infographics displayed below.

- The Mobile Insurance Team. (2013). Music Festivals and Mobiles: an Infographic. Available: http://www.mobileinsurance.co.uk/blog/music-festivals-and-mobiles-an-infographic/. Last accessed 21/10/2014.

Glastonbury Festival and The Throwaway Culture - Love The Farm, Leave No Trace

I love this image taken by press photographer David Hedges. The image shows a pile of discarded camping chairs at the pyramid stage in the aftermath of Glastonbury Festival. It's quite a striking image, that makes you question the current climate of festivals and throwaway culture.

With almost every turn i take whilst wandering around Glastonbury Festival, you cant fail to notice the "Love The Farm Leave No Trace" or "Please Take It Home Campaign", message that the festival organizers seem desperate to ingrain in every one of the 177,550 attendees. In their Green Policies on the Glastonbury Festival website (2014) the organisers sate that, "The festival is committed to minimising the amount of waste, and managing the on site collection of that waste efficiently, 'reduce, reuse and recycle'. We want all festival goers to think ‘zero waste’ and to take home what they bring onto the festival site. We want festivals goers to think responsibly when they are packing their things to come to Glastonbury, don’t bring items that will end up in Landfill, or that you won’t be able to take back home again. Limit what you bring, and clean up behind you. The festival commits to continuing its policy of reducing the percentage of waste that goes to landfill, by placing controls on what is bought on site by staff, contractors, sponsors and traders and by emphasis on their responsibility not to bring items that will end in landfill. 49% of the rubbish was recycled last year. All cans, glass, paper, wood and organic waste are separated and recycled. There are 15,000 bins around the site clearly identified for either wet or dry recyclable materials or non-recyclable rubbish". The Festivalization of Culture by Professor Andy Bennett, Dr Ian Woodward and Dr Jodie Taylor (2014) cited Glastonbury Festival organiser, Michael Evis (2007), commenting on the the introduction of green initiatives to the festival, stating, 'you cannot force people to believe the issue'. The writers continue on to note that, "Eavis does not see Glastonbury as an eco-festival, but it is trying to be greener. The Green Fields space within the festival is like a festival within a festival, promoting sustainability, pedal-power, permaculture, alternative energy and bio-diversity. Glastonbury employs an army of volunteers to clean up the site on the completion of the festival. Most volunteers see the rubbish left behind at the festival, such as tents, as a reflection of today's 'throw away' society." Gaia Vince a science reporter for the BBC, wrote a piece on the, "High Cost of Our Throwaway Culture" (2012), in which he observed that the, "idea that something that works fine should be replaced is now so ingrained in our culture that few people question it". Claiming this fairly recent concept has been "brought about by a revolution in the advertising and manufacturing industries, which thrived on various 20th century changes, including the mass movement of large populations to cities, the development of mass production, globalisation, improved transport, international trade and public broadcast media."

It's hard to believe that the rubbish left behind at a festival like Glastonbury will ever not be a problem. With so many people in attendance, creating its own mini city over such a short period of time, the accumulation of rubbish seems to be inevitable. To me, a question should maybe be asked of whether a higher percentage than 49% of all rubbish can be recycled, through the use of more sustainable or bio-degradable materials in the design of festival/camping products.

- Glastonbury Admin. (2014). Our Green Policies. Available: http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/information/green-glastonbury/our-green-policies/. Last accessed 21/10/2014.
- Professor Andy Bennett, Dr Ian Woodward, Dr Jodie Taylor (2014). The Festivalization of Culture. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
- Gaia Vince. (2012). The high cost of our throwaway culture. Available: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121129-the-cost-of-our-throwaway-culture. Last accessed 21/10/2014

Monday, 20 October 2014

Personal Product Project

My first design project of the year was to design a product that showcased something about myself, was something i would use and integrated something of importance in my life. This obviously led me to research and look into what it was that i was about as a person and what interests i had. I created some simple spider diagrams using images i had uploaded to my personal social media sites and looked at what i was really into. It was quite a personally enlightening task as i realised that i had more avenues down which to take my product design than i had originally thought.