Transforming Wellness

IDSA Student Member Helps Unveil New Wearables at SXSW

In March 2017 at SXSW Interactive in Austin, TX, Tim Ronco, S/IDSA, was among a group of Parsons School of Design students who unveiled new, wearable technology devices and experiences to transform wellness.

Göbie and Sleepwise were designed by students from Parsons MFA Industrial DesignMFA Design and Technology and BBA Strategic Design and Management programs, along with members of Game Changer Catapult—which includes business leaders, engineers and a UX designer from Panasonic. The wearables focus on enhancing sleep and social interaction.

Ronco is working on his master’s in industrial design. "Designers connect the dots," he tells IDSA. "With Göbie, we connected a desire for social wellness with wearable technology to create a platform that brings people together. The response at SXSW has been overwhelmingly positive which reveals that the needs we are designing for, resonate with people. This kind of opportunity to impact everyday life is why I am a designer."

Parsons says using haptic feedback, gesture recognition and a visual LED language, Göbie encourages users to interact outside of a screen interface. A connected app recognizes when other Göbie users are nearby and prompts a spontaneous play experience that fosters a sense of community, because, after all, the students’ research found, “face to face interaction makes you happier.”

Sleepwise helps users create a personally-designed environment, at home or on the road, to get a better night’s sleep. It reads body temperature and movement in the user and adjusts the temperature of the room, air quality, humidity and lighting accordingly.

Panasonic hopes that Göbie and Sleepwise eventually can be brought to market, so consumers “can use them to transform the way they manage wellness.”