Interview by Nicole Dahlstrom @nicoledahlstrom
Adi Meyer is a designer working at the intersection of emerging technology, the body, and architecture. Her work questions human perception and interpersonal connections through bodily interfaces and experiences of public spaces. She is currently based in San Francisco, designing large scale hospitality and entertainment venues at Populous while pursuing several wearable technology collaborations. Adi has previously worked for the artist collective SUPERFLEX in Copenhagen, and in Oded Eavri Architects, where she designed hospitality and residential buildings in Tel Aviv. Adi holds a Master of Architecture with distinction for her written thesis from the Bartlett, UCL in London, and a B.Arch with high honors from Tel Aviv University.
What is the idea behind your project / product and how did you come up with it?
Aposema is a wearable device, a soft robotic mask that reads face expressions and speculates on translating and simplifying them into the six universal emotions by Paul Ekman. These are displayed on the mask as colored inflating patterns. The project and the idea behind it was collaboratively developed over a period of several months of experimentation and exploration with the support of the interactive architecture lab.
When did all start and do you have other members in your team?
I started working on wearable design during my postgraduate studies in the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett, UCL in London. Aposema was a collaboration with two other women designers: Sirou Peng and Silvia Rueda.
What was the biggest obstacle?
We had technical obstacles that we worked hard to solve, like making our design into something we could wear, yet our biggest challenge was framing our goals in a concise and clear manner that we could easily communicate.
What are your biggest achievements to date?
Aposema was published in over 70 websites and tech blogs including TechCrunch and Digital Trends. It was featured by Harvard soft robotic toolkit and was presented in several international conferences including Formnext and BDYHAX. I am currently working several wearable design collaborations building on my experience from Aposema.
What are the challenges of being an entrepreneur in the niche you are in? How about being a female founder / entrepreneur?
The wearable design niche is a particularly odd mix, with women being the main target audience for fashion, while the majority of wearable TECHNOLOGY devices are still designed, branded and marketed for a male consumer. Bridging that gap, to me, is an opportunity to promote gender equality.
Is #WomenInTech movement important to you and if yes, why?
I think it is important for women to be able to depend on each other for guidance in a world where we are often perceived as starting at a disadvantage.
What is the most important piece of advice you can give to all female founders and female entrepreneurs out there?
Not to listen to voices that slow you down or prevent you from taking action, while listening to the ones who offer guidance.
What will be the key trends in the wearable tech industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
I believe personal customization, in the digital as well as the physical realm will play a bigger role as wearables learn the individual needs of their users and become more seamlessly incorporated into our daily routine.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in wearable design?
Learn more about Aposema:
This interview was conducted by Nicole Dahlstrom, Women of Wearables Ambassador in San Francisco, USA. She has been providing marketing and project management services to non profits for the past six years. Passionate about women's health and fem tech, Nicole decided to leverage her network of established feminine health companies, industry professionals, and leaders in the female health space to develop a network of support for founders of female health focused tech startups called FemTech Collective. Their mission is to shape the future of healthcare through technology that meets the needs of the female consumer. Connect with Nicole via Twitter: @nicoledahlstrom or LinkedIn: Nicole Dahlstrom