Assaporando by Micol Zardi

Pet-like smart assistants and multi-sensory tableware feature in Edinburgh College of Art student show

Digital household companions and tableware that caters for multi-sensory dining experiences are among the products exhibited in this Virtual Design Festival school show by Edinburgh College of Art product design students.

The seven projects featured in the digital exhibition were completed by students studying the BA Product Design course at the school, which is part of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Taught by Larissa Pschetz, Bettina Nissen, Jonathan Rankin and Jon Barnes, the course invites students to "question existing ways of doing things" and build a unique portfolio tailored to their personal interests.


Edinburgh College of Art

University: Edinburgh College of Art
Course: BA Product Design
Tutors: Larissa Pschetz, Bettina Nissen, Jonathan Rankin and Jon Barnes

Course statement:

"At the University of Edinburgh, students gain a broad perspective of the product design universe.

"They approach contemporary themes and work through design briefs that range from electronic artefacts that mediate data transactions, human interactions and new economic models, to new ways of working with craft materials and both traditional and novel modes of fabrication.

"Our small cohorts allow for tailored teaching and learning where students are encouraged to follow their own interests and construct a unique design profile.

"Throughout the programme, students are invited to take risks, to work with others and carry out an iterative experimental process to design artefacts and systems that question existing ways of doing things, in line with the tradition of innovation and cutting-edge practice and research that has been at the core of the university's values for centuries."


Social Stabilisers by Amos Wheeldon

Social Stabilisers by Amos Wheeldon

"Social Stabilisers is a project raising awareness surrounding the experiences of neurologically diverse members of society.

"The 'Overload Lamp' is part of a series of responses that portray these experiences through the behaviours of everyday artefacts.

"In this instance, the Overload Lamp changes the exposure and direction of light in reaction to high and low frequency sounds in its immediate environment. This embodiment of a sensory overload exposes neurologically normative people to this experience. Encouraging the development of empathy and diversifying our emotional intelligence."

Student: Amos Wheeldon
Project: Social Stabilisers
Website: amoswheeldon.com
Contact address: 4moswheeldon@gmail.com


Gyrophone v.1 by Ben Manders

Gyrophone v.1 by Ben Manders

"In an increasingly online and disjointed society, Gyrophone technology encourages genuine human connection through music and movement by stimulating face-to-face interaction.

"The Gyrophone v.1 is the first synthesiser that harnesses a gyroscope to allow spontaneous, collaborative music-making. It utilises GPS technology to allow you to venture out into the world to unlock a variety of sounds and instruments.

"In hunting for these hotspots, jammers can encounter others to collaborate with, using their shared collected sound library. As the Gyrophones dance together, sounds are manipulated in harmony with one another to generate spontaneous and original new music."

Student: Ben Manders
Project: Gyrophone
Website: www.benmanders.com/gyrophone-v1
Contact address: mandersben@gmail.com


Voro by Findlay Macdonald

Voro by Findlay Macdonald

"Our future relationships with smart assistants will become symbiotic, we will view them no longer as characterless assistants but as household digital companions.

"Building relationships much like we currently have with pets, these digital lifeforms will demand the user to feed them data and in return provide access to hyper-personalised full functionality.

"This leaves the user with a paradoxical question, whether keeping their pets alive and functioning at their fullest warrants breaking boundaries in relation to their own data privacy."

Student: Findlay Macdonald
Project: Voro
Website: www.finmacstudios.com
Contact address: finmacstudios@gmail.com


Metamorphose by Ladina Brunner

Metamorphose by Ladina Brunner

"Metamorphose is an interactive installation focused on designing an experience that encourages perceptual shifts through a co-production of the narrative.

"This installation works to address the importance of breaking away from the habitual spaces and mindsets we inhabit by stimulating our senses in a completely new way. Enabling participants to alter their surroundings and experience within Metamorphose births a new understanding of the relationship between their bodies and the space.

"Metamorphose's main goal is for no participant to leave with the same perceptions of the relationships between their bodies, minds and environment as they had before entering the installation."

Student: Ladina Brunner
Project: Metamorphose
Website: www.ladinabrunner.com
Contact address: ladina.brunner@gmail.com


Assaporando by Micol Zardi

Assaporando by Micol Zardi

"Assaporando is a project that explores multi-sensory stimuli in eating experiences, manipulating the five senses to achieve enhanced dining.

"Sensation transference is what links our senses with flavour and allows for multi-sensoriality to induce new experiences by the diner. Shape, colour, texture, noise and weight are elements that if combined, change the way in which we perceive flavour. When the five senses are manipulated and controlled while eating, the diner's perceptions of flavour are changed.

"This tableware intensifies the eating experience; the shape, texture, colour and weight enhance the diners' perception of flavour, creating an out of the ordinary dining experience."

Student: Micol Zardi
Project: Assaporando
Website: zardimicol.com
Contact address: zardimicol@gmail.com


Climate Summit by Preston Kneen

Climate Summit by Preston Kneen

"The Climate Summit game informs, engages, and creates discussion around what action the governments of the world are taking within climate change.

"An experience tested and approved for ages ten and up, Climate Summit brings the learning of in-depth research into a game that can be played with friends and family.

"Do you want to learn about what you can do for our planet? Feel confused by politicians and empty promises of change? Get competitive with the other players to be energy sustainable first, and learn about how you can influence your nation right now to make a better future."

Student: Preston Kneen
Project: Climate Summit
Website: jpkdesign.me
Contact address: jpkneen@me.com


Incognito by Shannen Dorothee Tioniwar

Incognito by Shannen Dorothee Tioniwar

"Incognito is an intelligent offline device which allows users to determine whether they would like to share their data to the 'always listening devices' with the respective consequences.

"This is done by allowing users to categorise and classify the perceived level of privacy of data, allowing them to consciously share data at their own discretion.

"This interactive intermediary device gives users the ability to customise the boundaries of a device in regards to data collection. Incognito gives a user the chance to explore challenges and the opportunities provided by AI-supported devices."

Student: Shannen Dorothee Tioniwar
Project: Incognito
Website: www.shannentioniwar.com
Contact address: dorothee.shannen@gmail.com


Virtual Design Festival's student and schools initiative offers a simple and affordable platform for student and graduate groups to present their work during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here for more details.