Technology keeps on advancing with every passing year, and 2019 is sure to be no different. Join us as we detail the trends to watch out for when it comes to manufacturing this year…
Coming to the world of mobility: The Bond stick
There’s so much technology that can help the elderly today, from stairlifts making the effort to get up and down stairs much easier, to the likes of Alexa and Google Home allowing someone to turn a TV on or adjust their lights from the comfort of their couch.
What about when senior citizens leave the home though? Say hello to the so-called Bond stick — one of 50 products that was on display at the ninth International Ageing Asia Innovation Forum earlier this year. It’s a device that can be used as a walking cane but is designed more like an umbrella, thus helping people who might be wary about using a cane due to the stigma that’s often attached to the equipment.
Other handy features of the Bond stick, which has been devised by Singapore start-up Bekind Solutions, includes an auto-fall sensor that sees a loud alarm being rung if someone using the cane suffers a fall, as well as built-in MP3 player and radio that is there to reduce the rate of dementia deterioration by providing users with sensory stimulation.
Those developing equipment for the elderly may be wise to bear the features of the Bond stick in mind if they are looking to make their products multi-functional in 2019.
Coming to the world of motoring: Autonomous vehicles
The next 12 months could represent the time when the dreams we had to be behind the wheel of driverless cars after watching a sci-fi movie may come true. In fact, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, has confidence that his company will be celebrating the feat of full self-driving sometime throughout 2019.
Mr Musk confided when speaking with Recode’s editor-at-large Kara Swisher: “I don’t want to sound overconfident, but I would be very surprised if any of the car companies exceeded Tesla in self-driving, in getting to full self-driving. They’re just not good at software. And this is a software problem.”
Self-driving cars have the potential to provide the motoring scene with so many benefits once they roll off production lines in working order. The USDOT website has stated that there’s the likelihood that autonomous vehicle technologies will reduce injuries and deaths on roads when you consider that 94 per cent of fatal vehicle crashes are attributable to human error, for instance.
Meanwhile, Daniel B. Work, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was a lead researcher in a traffic congestion study. Following his research, he was keen to point out: “Our experiments show that with as few as five per cent of vehicles being automated and carefully controlled, we can eliminate stop-and-go waves caused by human driving behavior.”
Those across the US are sure to welcome this change, especially when you consider that, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, Americans spend over 6.9 billion hours a year sitting in traffic at the moment.
Feeling skeptical about how popular autonomous vehicles will become? Then take note that the world’s first purpose-built, mass-produced, all-electric car, the Nissan LEAF, was released in 2010. Fast forward to 2018 and Frost & Sullivan’s “Global Electric Vehicle Market Outlook 2018” report was predicting that the global sales of electric vehicles will reach 1.6 million units.
Coming to the world of fashion: Clothing that adapts in real-time
Technological advancements are transforming wearable devices and clothing materials, to the point where the items that we wear are becoming an extension of our bodies. We’ve already seen a couple of examples of this trend, debuted by two of the world’s biggest activewear brands.
First up is the shape-shifting sports bra by Reebok. Debuted by the firm during the summer of 2018, the PureMove bra is designed with a thickening fluid that changes the clothing’s texture in response to movement. In effect, the bra will stiffen while the wearer is moving to provide additional sport, and then soften when someone is resting.
Then there’s the adaptive shoes which have been designed through a partnership between Puma and the MIT Design Lab. The footwear comes complete with insoles which can use bacteria that responds to sweat — it also gathers biological information about the person wearing the shoes. Any changes are detected by electronic circuits, with data then transmitted to assist in preventing fatigue and, potentially, improve performance.
If there’s plenty of take-up for these products, more real-time technology within clothing can be expected as we progress through 2019. Reebok has said that it is monitoring how customers respond to its PureMove bra and, if it’s well-received, the firm may look at similar designs for swimsuits and running tights. What’s more, Puma and the MIT Design Lab have said that they are hopeful that their collaboration can potentially change the design of everything from shoes for marathon runners to sports jerseys and baseball cleats for the better.
Filed Under: Automotive, Product design