Title
Design For Ageing Well: Improving The Quality Of Life For The Ageing Population Using A Technology Enabled Garment System (DfAW)
Description
This cross-disciplinary collaborative research aimed to bring Smart clothing (modern functional textiles with assistive wearable technologies) to enhance wellbeing within the everyday lives of the rapidly growing Active Ageing community (60-75 years). It focused on the design of a clothing ‘layering system’, for participation in walking. The system comprised close-fitting base-layer garments (with monitoring of levels of activity & vital signs), mid-layer insulation (with warming devices) & outer protective wear (with multi-modal user interfaces). Practical research was informed through the identification of the real needs & aspirations of older users in prototype development. Co-design methodology (new to clothing) integrated older participants with academic researchers & industry stakeholders. A co-design approach helped to explain complex terminologies & practices between stakeholders, including technologists in electronics, clothing/textiles, & gerontology. Older users (representing the changing physiological demands of the older body) contributed to; - design development, styling & fabrication - placement of technologies within system - evaluation of the usability of technology user interface Team experience in product design, architecture & graphic communication, contributed to design specification for garment assembly. Co-design introduced a positive approach to design for ageing through an enhanced image for clothing that is fit-for-purpose from functional, aesthetic & cultural perspectives. Cross-disciplinary methodologies enabled the realisation of a clothing layering system, as an integrated ‘wearable technology platform’, contributing to comfort, independence, & enjoyment for user participation in walking. Co-design enhanced understanding of user needs between academic researchers & practitioners within the international textile, clothing & wearable electronics industries.
Language
English
Prinicpal Investigator
Jane McCann
Contributor
Brian Scotney
Co-Investigator, Technology. Work Package 3
Chris Nugent
Contributor
Victoria Haffenden
Contributor
Paul McCullagh
Co-Investigator, Behaviour. Work Package 1
Tracey Williamson
Contributor
Sally McClean
Contributor
Dewar Finlay
Contributor
Julia Ryan
Contributor
Eric Wallace
Co-Investigator, Clothing. Work Package 2
Jeni Bougourd
Contributor
Stephen Benton
Summary of scientific impacts
DfAW has raised awareness of a neglected but growing active ageing market & provided strategies for how to address their design needs, with particular reference to the outdoor sector. The project has contributed to empirical knowledge about the sartorial wants & needs of the 'active but ageing' section of the population & to understanding that older users of technologically enabled garment systems demand functionality, but at the same time require simplicity of interface & use. New co-design process has enabled stakeholders from academia & industry to work with active ageing users, for the identification of their design needs, to inform the co-design development of functional clothing that facilitates outdoor healthy exercise, social engagement & enhanced wellbeing. Co-design methodology (new to fashion) has enabled the development of cross-disciplinary shared language between disparate disciplines (clothing, technical textiles, electronics & socio-gerontology). The interpretation & translation of complex terminologies & processes has informed the realisation of a functional clothing layering system as a platform for wearable electronics. Co-design has supported a more responsible & sustainable design process for the development of less transient & more enduring age-appropriate styling, (in contrast with fast fashion) for a growing ageing demographic. DfAW has developed hybrid design specification methods that have bridged the technical gap in communication between the cultures of clothing / textiles & electronics to communicate the practical integration of electronic architecture and components into a clothing layering system. The methodologies are transferrable to wider Wearable Electronic (WE) clothing applications.DfAW has increased research capacity from disciplines new to design for ageing; RA (3) PhD (3) MPhil (2) & Visiting Scholar (from China).
Findings and Outputs
Proof-of-concept prototypes demonstrate the results of the co-design process constituting a layering system, designed to fit UK representative figures (60-75 years) & to address overall comfort in terms of; - body size & shape with ergonomic cut & fit - smart materials selection to optimise homeostasis & provide outer protection of the clothing micro-climate - closures & technology controls for limited dexterity - enduring styling with colour preferences sympathetic to ageing complexions & hair colour - optimised positioning of wearable electronics Pattern blocks (generated through body scanning) provided a basis for the development of articulated blocks (with a range of movement & postures, relevant to walking) to coordinate throughout the garment layers: Body layer: (Sports-type bras & men’s vests) in fabrics engineered for comfort with integration of knitted electrodes for vital signs data collection & processing. Base layer: (Short & long sleeved ‘T’ shirts) Close fitting in moisture management textiles, with design lines & movement to co-ordinate with other layers. User preferences included lyocell & wool, in blends with wicking man-made fibres, using cut-and-sew & seam-free garment assembly techniques. Mid Insulation: (Jackets & gilets) Varied levels of thermal regulation, with cut & proportion, sleeve pitch & articulation to coordinate other layers within the system. Textile constructions included fleece, quilted phase-change materials & more tailored ‘soft shell’ hybrid protection. Electronic warming panels were of interest to female participants. Outer protection: (Coats, jackets & trousers) with comfort & fit enhanced through use of stretch fibres in both two & three layer waterproof assemblies, designed to accommodate integrated electronic architecture to support the Smart phone with connections to an externally positioned soft switch user-interface.
How these impacts were achieved
DfAW succeeded in cross-disciplinary collaboration, across the disparate cultures of design, technology & gerontology, for the generation of new understandings in both the integration of wearable electronics into textiles/garments & in user engagement to elicit the particular design requirements of the rapidly growing active ageing consumer. A User Reference Group of men & women (60-75 years) was involved from initial co-design training workshops to the evaluation of final prototypes. A User Advisory group (12 men & women) provided independent comparative comment on; older consumer design requirements, a commercial product review & prototype development. Co-design methodology enabled; - Barriers to be broken down between the disparate cultures of work package disciplines; Behaviour (WP1), Clothing (WP2) & Technology (WP3) for the development of new shared language & practice - Merging of cross-disciplinary knowledge, skills & tacit understandings, driven by end-user requirement, throughout the iterative process - Expertise & access to novel materials & processes made available by the associated clothing, textiles & electronics industries for the manufacture of prototypes The resulting methodologies & practical proof-of-concept prototypes were achieved through the involvement & commitment and value in kind of resources of all stakeholders. Capturing the size & shape of the age group was achieved in partnership with Sizemic Ltd. (liaison company to the SizeUK survey) Participants were selected, to be representative of national height and BMI classifications prior to body scanning, and automatic generation of blocks from scans. Pattern cutting experts (WP2) adapted the blocks to cater for predominant postures & movement associated with outdoor activity. International speakers, from industry & academia, at the ‘Wearable Futures: Inclusive Design’ Conference (2012) linked the project themes; Behaviour, Clothing & Technology.
Who these findings impact
RESEARCH CAPACITY DfAW attracted researchers from beyond fashion; Graphics, Product & Architecture (to share visual language for garment specification) & Intimate Apparel for customised design of body layers (bras & vests) for the integration of WE. A PG study on improved delivery of Textiles in schools (Design & Technology) benefited from research network. Visiting Scholar (Wang Lu) attracted 3 years funding for inclusive design research at China Women’s University, Beijing (2012) directly due to her research associated with DfAW. SIZE & SHAPE Sizemic Ltd. are advancing development of SizeUK digital avatars & mannequins to represent ageing figure types. Academic partner (Ulster) recognised the value of capturing body dimensions & purchased a scanner, to inform further research. INCLUSIVE DESIGN PI & RA contributed to the (RCA) Helen Hamlyn Centre’s ESRC funded DARE Summer School at Tsinghua University, Beijing, where they staged a clothing design seminar with local older Chinese participants recruited to the workshop. MEDICAL DISSEMINATION Presentations at; Smart Medical Textiles, Aachen (15.11.12) Worlds in collision: Is mobile technology challenging conventional telemonitoring? Conference, The Royal Society of Medicine (6.6.13) Well-Being 2013: Designs on Well-being, exploring responses to the well-being Conference, Birmingham City University (24-25.7.13) 'Talking about Ageing', run by The Age and Ageing Research programme in the School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton, led by Diane Waller MA(RCA) DPhil, FRSA, OBE. (Co-I, VH to present). ROLES RESULTING FROM RESEARCH Revision of Textile Institute’s ‘Textile Terms & Definitions’: PI is leading a committee of experts to collate & define Smart terms (for first time) for on-line publication. Sizing Standards Committee: Co-I (Jeni Bougourd) joined (2012).
Summary of economic impacts
DfAW has raised awareness of a neglected but growing active ageing market & provided strategies for how to address their design needs, with particular reference to the outdoor sector. The project has contributed to empirical knowledge about the sartorial wants & needs of the 'active but ageing' section of the population & to understanding that older users of technologically enabled garment systems demand functionality, but at the same time require simplicity of interface & use. New co-design process has enabled stakeholders from academia & industry to work with active ageing users, for the identification of their design needs, to inform the co-design development of functional clothing that facilitates outdoor healthy exercise, social engagement & enhanced wellbeing. Co-design methodology (new to fashion) has enabled the development of cross-disciplinary shared language between disparate disciplines (clothing, technical textiles, electronics & socio-gerontology). The interpretation & translation of complex terminologies & processes has informed the realisation of a functional clothing layering system as a platform for wearable electronics. Co-design has supported a more responsible & sustainable design process for the development of less transient & more enduring age-appropriate styling, (in contrast with fast fashion) for a growing ageing demographic. DfAW has developed hybrid design specification methods that have bridged the technical gap in communication between the cultures of clothing / textiles & electronics to communicate the practical integration of electronic architecture and components into a clothing layering system. The methodologies are transferrable to wider Wearable Electronic (WE) clothing applications.DfAW has increased research capacity from disciplines new to design for ageing; RA (3) PhD (3) MPhil (2) & Visiting Scholar (from China).
Findings and Outputs
Proof-of-concept prototypes demonstrate the results of the co-design process constituting a layering system, designed to fit UK representative figures (60-75 years) & to address overall comfort in terms of; - body size & shape with ergonomic cut & fit - smart materials selection to optimise homeostasis & provide outer protection of the clothing micro-climate - closures & technology controls for limited dexterity - enduring styling with colour preferences sympathetic to ageing complexions & hair colour - optimised positioning of wearable electronics Pattern blocks (generated through body scanning) provided a basis for the development of articulated blocks (with a range of movement & postures, relevant to walking) to coordinate throughout the garment layers: Body layer: (Sports-type bras & men’s vests) in fabrics engineered for comfort with integration of knitted electrodes for vital signs data collection & processing. Base layer: (Short & long sleeved ‘T’ shirts) Close fitting in moisture management textiles, with design lines & movement to co-ordinate with other layers. User preferences included lyocell & wool, in blends with wicking man-made fibres, using cut-and-sew & seam-free garment assembly techniques. Mid Insulation: (Jackets & gilets) Varied levels of thermal regulation, with cut & proportion, sleeve pitch & articulation to coordinate other layers within the system. Textile constructions included fleece, quilted phase-change materials & more tailored ‘soft shell’ hybrid protection. Electronic warming panels were of interest to female participants. Outer protection: (Coats, jackets & trousers) with comfort & fit enhanced through use of stretch fibres in both two & three layer waterproof assemblies, designed to accommodate integrated electronic architecture to support the Smart phone with connections to an externally positioned soft switch user-interface.
How these impacts were achieved
DfAW succeeded in cross-disciplinary collaboration, across the disparate cultures of design, technology & gerontology, for the generation of new understandings in both the integration of wearable electronics into textiles/garments & in user engagement to elicit the particular design requirements of the rapidly growing active ageing consumer. A User Reference Group of men & women (60-75 years) was involved from initial co-design training workshops to the evaluation of final prototypes. A User Advisory group (12 men & women) provided independent comparative comment on; older consumer design requirements, a commercial product review & prototype development. Co-design methodology enabled; - Barriers to be broken down between the disparate cultures of work package disciplines; Behaviour (WP1), Clothing (WP2) & Technology (WP3) for the development of new shared language & practice - Merging of cross-disciplinary knowledge, skills & tacit understandings, driven by end-user requirement, throughout the iterative process - Expertise & access to novel materials & processes made available by the associated clothing, textiles & electronics industries for the manufacture of prototypes The resulting methodologies & practical proof-of-concept prototypes were achieved through the involvement & commitment and value in kind of resources of all stakeholders. Capturing the size & shape of the age group was achieved in partnership with Sizemic Ltd. (liaison company to the SizeUK survey) Participants were selected, to be representative of national height and BMI classifications prior to body scanning, and automatic generation of blocks from scans. Pattern cutting experts (WP2) adapted the blocks to cater for predominant postures & movement associated with outdoor activity. International speakers, from industry & academia, at the ‘Wearable Futures: Inclusive Design’ Conference (2012) linked the project themes; Behaviour, Clothing & Technology.
Who these findings impact
RESEARCH CAPACITY DfAW attracted researchers from beyond fashion; Graphics, Product & Architecture (to share visual language for garment specification) & Intimate Apparel for customised design of body layers (bras & vests) for the integration of WE. A PG study on improved delivery of Textiles in schools (Design & Technology) benefited from research network. Visiting Scholar (Wang Lu) attracted 3 years funding for inclusive design research at China Women’s University, Beijing (2012) directly due to her research associated with DfAW. SIZE & SHAPE Sizemic Ltd. are advancing development of SizeUK digital avatars & mannequins to represent ageing figure types. Academic partner (Ulster) recognised the value of capturing body dimensions & purchased a scanner, to inform further research. INCLUSIVE DESIGN PI & RA contributed to the (RCA) Helen Hamlyn Centre’s ESRC funded DARE Summer School at Tsinghua University, Beijing, where they staged a clothing design seminar with local older Chinese participants recruited to the workshop. MEDICAL DISSEMINATION Presentations at; Smart Medical Textiles, Aachen (15.11.12) Worlds in collision: Is mobile technology challenging conventional telemonitoring? Conference, The Royal Society of Medicine (6.6.13) Well-Being 2013: Designs on Well-being, exploring responses to the well-being Conference, Birmingham City University (24-25.7.13) 'Talking about Ageing', run by The Age and Ageing Research programme in the School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton, led by Diane Waller MA(RCA) DPhil, FRSA, OBE. (Co-I, VH to present). ROLES RESULTING FROM RESEARCH Revision of Textile Institute’s ‘Textile Terms & Definitions’: PI is leading a committee of experts to collate & define Smart terms (for first time) for on-line publication. Sizing Standards Committee: Co-I (Jeni Bougourd) joined (2012).
Potential future impacts
Planned ESRC Knowledge Exchange (KE): DESIGN DIRECTION Industry is keen to collaborate in KE bid to propose production of a ‘Manual’ in both hard copy & electronic format, with industry Master Classes, to take place at trade events (e.g. ISPO & Outdoor, Germany) or in company work place. Proposed industry support would facilitate the elaboration of the co-design process to provide clear design guidance; Communication of co-design process: (PhD, WP1) Size & Shape: Sizemic guidance on transfer of co-design garment styling to commercial sizing (with key trade partner) Up-beat presentation on Style direction: DfAW team illustration Guidance on Fabrication: Fibres/Fabrics/Finishes/Manufacturing techniques: DfAW trade collaborators eg. Lenzing, W.L.Gore, Bemis HK. Age-appropriate colour: Colour findings in professional format (Natific) WE: Reconfiguration of technology components Fibretronic; Reconfiguration of soft controls for reduced dexterity. Recommendations of optimal positioning of accelerometry technologies within WE to improve accuracy of assessment of activity levels through advanced modules of signal processing. Translation of signal processing approaches to mobile phone platforms for future widespread usage of activity monitoring. Power Traveller: Alternative power devices for outdoor environments. Hybrid technical design specification: Project team in liaison with industry Routes to market: Retail links developed through DfAW (e.g.Rohan) Concept of bringing production nearer to ‘home’: Lorna Fitzsimmons PI to present at ‘Mirror Mirror: Representations & Reflections on age & ageing’, University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion (29-30.10.13) This will bring practical project findings, with proof-of-concept outputs, to the fashion design academic community.
Unexpected impacts
International Academic Impact: PI & RA contributed unique expertise in DfAW research to ESRC funded DARE (Design Age Research Exchange) Summer School (Royal College of Art in collaboration with Academy of Art & Design, Tsinghua Uni., Beijing, 12-19. 9. 10) Visiting Scholar (Wang Lu, China) with DfAW (I year) has since attracted 3 years research funding; ‘The research of Inclusive Design theory & practice, facing the demand of the ageing society of China’ (from The National Arts and Sciences Planning Leadership Organisation, The Ministry of Culture China, 2012) This includes funds for DfAW PI to disseminate findings in China (I month, Nov. 2013). Industry early uptake of findings: Garment development; Sprayway: Off shore prototyping required clear design specification with principles of age-appropriate styling, colour & inclusive detail adopted in current range Keela: UK & off shore production of specialist materials & bonding processes, & prior experience of WE, now informing country clothing development Brenig (Welsh SME): Iterative product development for WE integration led to small-scale production of styles informed by DfAW Blum: Austrian/Polish collaboration developed principles for knitting co-designed base layers from 3D body scan data. DfAW has introduced a new ageing consumer market to the company & the concept of 3D body scan data to inform both design & manufacturing Sizemic Ltd. is progressing the research & development of mannequins for older figure types The Textile Institute: PI leadership of Smart Committee re Textile terms & Definitions (TT&D). International Trade Impact: Trade bodies provided unexpected levels of support, in kind, for events, with venues, to raise profile of DfAW; Messe Munchen: Generation Sport: Best Ager exhibit (2010, 2011) Messe Friedrichafen: Breakfast Seminar (2011) Wearable Technology WT Conference presentation (2012) TI / NDA: Wearable Futures: Inclusive Design Conference (2012)
Limited scientific impacts
Wearable Electronics: Difficulties exist due to the current lack of robustness & reliability of WE. An older user looses confidence if the technology function is intermittent or fails Current lack of interoperability between devices Current weight & bulk of batteries The prohibitive expense of re-configuring technology components for researching new markets, such as active ageing For example, Fibretronic was unable to commit to altering the design of their soft textile-based controls in the investigative research phase. (However, this would be possible at potential KE stage now there is an identified older market with special requirements confirmed) The Shimmer device was suitable for research purposes but not configured in an ergonomic design for normal (comfortable & unobtrusive) use Textiles & Clothing: Individual size & fit is an on-going challenge although garment mass customization (linked to body scanning) is moving forward WE communities seem to focus on the Smart Phone at the expense of clothing. At events, related to health & wellness, sport & other applications, little is discussed about truly wearable electronics. The emphasis is on smart phone functionality, that is impressive, but potentially confusing (size of interface) with an increasing number of available apps There is little understanding, within the WE community, of the sophistication of technical clothing & how, if older people are to go out & exercise, in a range of conditions, they required clothes that are comfortable, attractive & fit-for-purpose Few practitioners are being trained for this new hybrid sector (electronics merging with clothing). Design & Technology school education is limited in terms of attracting both genders to the subject with no obvious route to clothing design for extreme user-requirement beyond the catwalk. Little training exists in design for smart textiles/clothing & wearable electronics at HE level.
Limited economic impacts
SOCIETY A poor image & perception of ageing exists within the predominantly youth driven fast fashion & WE markets. Clothing is relatively inexpensive due to off shore production making it a challenge to introduce value-added clothing products due to a general lack of understanding within the general public of the value & sophistication of technical/smart textiles & complex garment manufacture, exacerbated by the relative low price of fashion. This demands the re-education of consumers (& of the older market, who often have a memory of clothing being of higher value in the past) in order that they may be prepared to pay more for value added product, that could be designed to their requirements, while promising greater longevity of use. WE for older people are often perceived to be in the category of medical devices. There is an active age gap between health & safety restrictions versus autonomy, independence & flourishing. ECONOMY A continuing gap exists in the cultures, language, routes to market, & trade standards between the textiles/clothing & electronics industries. The expense of development of small-scale production of both materials & product manufacture limits design innovation. The older market could be slower & more predictable for bringing production nearer to ‘home’ but both fast fashion & electronics seldom have the time or confidence to consider new practices. Routes to market are still unclear with a current lack of sales & marketing channels for WE to come to a wider market. This is even more complex when considering an older demographic that is not perceived as ‘sexy’ by marketers. The retail experience can be quite negative for older consumers. The fashion industry, therefore, continues with ‘business as usual’ driven by last season’s sales & Fashion trend, however there is no trend information available to guide design for active ageing and little record of past garment sales or of lost sales due to inappropriate design.
Harvard
McCann, Jane et al. Design for Ageing Well: Improving The Quality of Life For The Ageing Population Using A Technology Enabled Garment System: ESRC Impact Report, RES-353-25-0004. Swindon: ESRC
Vancouver
McCann Jane et al. Design for Ageing Well: Improving The Quality of Life For The Ageing Population Using A Technology Enabled Garment System: ESRC Impact Report, RES-353-25-0004. Swindon: ESRC.