Open Style Lab Final Showcase at the MIT Museum

In mid-November last year, I approached the MIT based Open Style Lab team to collaborate and quickly our relationship developed into the final show day for the Summer Program of 2015. It has been a long journey.

Eight clients and twenty-one fellows participated in the ten-week Summer Program of 2015. On the day of the show, each team presented their project process, documentation, interview approach, prototype iterations, and final product solution for their client. Because each client has a different disability, the solutions were creatively customized to his or her specific style, fit, and use.

Prior the program, I learned to tackle challenges regarding wearable technology, user experience, and interdisciplinary education. I assisted Dr. Grace Teo with creating success metrics that can measure the impact of a garment for a person with disabilities. We pondered over the difficulty in measuring a prototype’s success and failures for next iterative steps. 

The experience broadened my perspective on the definition of “technology.” When I asked friends and people outside of the program, their assumptions of technology applied to body were immediately mainstream gadgets such as, Nike Fuel Band or Apple iWatch. How do we define a technology that uses elastic straps to balance a user’s posture? Can we categorize a garment as a low-technology solution or high-technology solution? These experiences, among others, raise substantial doubt that topics in design and technology such as wearables, are not examined enough.

I have yet to deeply research pedagogy but, I believed this summer teaching experience and discussions with faculty at Harvard GSGE like Edward Clapp, have opened my eyes to the complicated details overlooked in the field of interdisciplinary education. I realized the following difficulties in creating an educational framework for this program:

  1. How do you create a curriculum that is user-centered?
  2. How can a program be structured to facilitate an exchange of knowledge regarding different skills in design, engineering, and occupational therapy?
  3. How can I simultaneously provide a solid foundation in design principles and allow creative flexibility? 
  4. How can I best support and mentor fellows without being overbearing? 

Overall, I am humbled and enormously grateful for this experience. (The Open Style Lab Team: Grace Teo, Alice Tin, Lea Yoon, Nicole Jimenez)  I hope the fellows had learned something from me as much as I've learned from them. 

For more information on the team & their products for each client, please visit: openstylelab.com

For more information on the team & their products for each client, please visit: openstylelab.com