Communicating Design Futures to Resonate with the External World
Professor Raymond Oliver
Social innovation will often direct technology pathways. Looking at what will drive technology innovation, we have to consider the societal and sociological issues that will play an increasingly significant role in shaping the products and services important in our daily lives. Water, energy, mineral resources etc. will be scarce in the future. Scarce and just as relevant will be time, attention and trust. In particular trust will remain the most significant feature of any product or service uptake.
The 21st century will be the century of materials: by the year 2100, we will understand how to fully manipulate and control both the molecular and nano manufacture of products by design. Innovations at the interface between ‘active’ materials, chemistry and biology are probably the most important area of applied research and technology for the foreseeable future and will be a central thrust of the 21st century technology and the core of the technological innovation.
Creative design, while questioning and provoking human response, provides aesthetic and functional benefits and can lead imagination to reality, in turn bringing about social & business innovation as the result. The concept of D:STEM will translate into the production of a huge range of consumer, societal and health related product applications; this leading to even greater integration and use of increasingly imaginative ‘intelligent’ material systems .
What we will do
To accelerate a leading edge D:STEM environment, a new Interdisciplinary Design Research Studio is being developed, allowing the incorporation of new materials (conductive polymers which are electro photo and bio active) into design thinking and making, beyond the confines of Silicon intelligence.
P3i stands for Printable, Paintable and Programmable materials capable of being coded with intelligence (logic + memory). The impact of P3i will be a source of design led, needs driven, materials anchored new products, services, technologies and experiences beyond the expected state of the art. Outputs will have generic benefits for 3rd World, developing world, BRIC economies and developed world environments through applications and new opportunities in healthcare and wellness, renewable energy, transport, shelter, consumer goods, ambient technologies, for people at work, at play and at home and form fashion and lifestyle choice.
The facilities we are developing will create an ‘Active’ Materials for Living platform (AMfL) populated with design and technology leaders of international repute to create an outstanding graduate and post-graduate design-research environment in Europe comparable with MIT Media Lab in terms of academic vigour and industrial impact.
The AMfL platform is made up from four pillars, i.e. SENSORY, BIOSYS, AMBIENT and KNIT. Over the next two years, these will form the basis for the creative design making post graduate hub at P3i @ Northumbria.