Every single year at the DJCAD Degree Show, some of the most thoughtful and inclusive works come from the Digital Interaction and Production Design course. Upon leaving the lifts and entering into the design hub of Level 5, a comforting hum of electricity radiates from the rooms to the right. In other disciplines, personal issues are illustrated or drawn upon in heartfelt catharsis; in the Social-Digital section, they are here to solve them. From Alzheimer’s, Mental Health to helping you fix your phone when you can’t afford a trip to Apple, the graduates at Digital Interaction and Product Design have got you covered.
“You have just dropped your iPhone 5. The display is broken so you’ll need to buy a new screen to replace it…”This is an all too familiar occurrence in our Apple ruled, two year shelf lives (if you’re even that lucky). Claire Wright’s strikingly simple project, “Techmend”, brings a solid solution to this conundrum that without the correct tools for our fiddly little devices nobody would dare even think to repair themselves. Instead we are willing to spend hundreds a year on fixing our screen- wasting valuable resources in the process. This has prompted Claire to create and provide specific tools and instructions that, packaged into a nice, friendly looking cardboard box resembling an old school jotter would impart confidence even in the greatest of technophobes — getting us back into the swing of fixing things when they are broken, instead of simply binning phones or pay lots of money to fix..
Problem solving and sustainability come hand in hand, but in our fast-paced modern lives we rarely seem to have time for either. Thankfully, Dominic Bell has created a product that addesses both of the above. ‘Brunn’ is a very stylish and very efficient kettle, mixing materials like wood and glass to give it such a sleek feel that you wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the window of an office in Amsterdam already. Through using the latest heat inductive technology to instantly boil the exact amount of water needed instantly, its aim is to reduce carbon emissions. The best part is you can have a guilt-free cup of tea in an instant!
Along with the very innovative gadgets that this department spend their year creating, one of the most pleasing aspects of the exhibitions is the titles. A particularly clever quip from the graduates this year holds a meaningful and relevant weight; is “Siblink”, an app for the estimated 40,000 children who become separated from their siblings in care. Molly Barnes’ carefully researched app allows the children to stay connected with each other in a secure, private environment. Molly has even created a countdown app for the siblings, building up a sense of positivity in a difficult and often problematic situation.
Keeping with the theme of family connections, Alice Malcolm has created a space for a more nostalgic kind of relationship. With Alice being a Product Design student, this relationship focusses less on keeping up to date with what’s going on in each other’s lives, and more with collecting the physical aspects of memories developed over time that she feels is lost by our happy-snapping digital handhelds. “Arkiv” is a product that looks as homely as the concept; its windowed storage sections providing an old fashioned and homely feel, like a handmade trophy cabinet, but focussing less on actual triumphs and more on the memories of the family that stood behind them.
There is a lot to get your head around in this year’s Digital Interaction and Product Design show – you definitely feel yourself reverting back to the 50s, spouting lines like ‘how could anybody come up with something like this?!’. As the graduates know from this year, the answer is right in front of us.I It takes a very special eye to be able to see that, let alone make the kinds of wonders that are on show this year.