We:ex Hackathon: Designing for Humans in a Digital World

By: Navriti Sood


Silicone putty, modeling clay, popcorn and a handful of entrepreneurs were some of the ingredients that created the playful vibe of our hack-a-thon last week.

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A coveted group of creative thinkers gathered around the cushy couches at Red Bull Studios. A hidden gem in the heart of Chelsea, we walked amongst an art exhibition, a fully stacked sound studio and some peculiar chandeliers with rainbow colored hands.

We asked all our guests to leave their professions at home and come play with us.

The aim of the night was left under cover until Billie announced  the mission: designing for humans in a digital world.

Designing for humans in a world that requires the user to be tech savvy are long gone. Technology has to catch up to our ways of thinking and living.  We love technology but we want to use it without needing to learn a new language. With this in mind, we knew we had to get creative. And there’s no better way to trigger our imaginations than getting back in touch with our inner child.

Shortly after our announcement, everyone gathered around and watched Mariusz Kujawski (@zedancer)  perform a hair raising contemporary dance number. His wavering arms and swerving twists showed off every muscle in the human body-- getting us in the groove of thinking about the human form the remainder of the night.  

Triads of techies and fashion designers circled around lab tables and started playing with the materials. The actual hack will have to remain amongst the floating rope chandeliers at Red Bull Studios.

Baskets of Sexy Pop Popcorn fueled our imaginations along with the exotic tastings of Rekorderlig hard cider sparked laughs and quirky chats.

There was a constant draft of musicians walking towards the green wall that constantly wafted creativity through the space.

One creative technologist from Milk Studios noted that the energy reminded him of the launch of the DOT COM days. A supportive and creative network of intelligent humans who really care about design.

 

"Do you work like this all the time?"  said Matt Lipchutz from Meural

 

With all the light musings and our imaginations running freely, it was hard to take ourselves seriously.

After several glorious hours of play, the winning team was announced--Madison Maxey, Mari Kussman, Daniel Goodwin and Sean Petterson-- a combination of computational neuroscientists, fashion designers and an engineer presented a design that was functional and well thought out. Their design kept the aesthetics of the garment in tact. A mesh of skills we should put together more often!

 

"There is nothing like an evening of making objects and feeling like you accomplished something."

-Maddy Maxey, The Crated

 

Our magical night came together, thanks to Paul Farkas and the supportive network of the wearable tech industry. Thank you to all who came and played with us! This event would not be possible with out out supportive sponsors; RF Digital, Red Bull Studios New York, Rekorderlig USA, Sexy Pop Popcorn, and the amazing team that helped put this together: Osvehanis Diyana, Stanley He and Ross Asdourian.