Grand Challenge, RCA, Enhancing the Human
Created in 2019
Annually, the Royal College of Art partners with another institution to sponsor an event called Grand Challenge. Grand Challenge is a cross disciplinary design brief with random teams across the entire first year of the school of design. This year, the brief was sponsored by Logitech and we were prompted to escape a commercial reality and imagine what it may mean to enhance the human in 50-180 years time. This project was completed in two parts - two weeks to produce a concept, and then the teams swapped concepts and groups were given two weeks to develop an entirely new concept.
My team consisted of the disciplines of design products (myself), service design, intelligent mobility (vehicle design), fashion, and textiles. Throughout the entire project we worked very closely together, sharing responsibilities and also trying to figure out how to play to our strengths from our studies. For myself, I took the lead on multiple ideation sessions as well as creating some "looks-like" props to help spark the imagination moving forward.
The concept we delivered after two weeks sparked questions on what the future of love, relationships, and family may look like in a world where the human lives to be 150 years old. We came to this concept based off literature and projects we found interesting (Speculative Everything, When We All Live to be 150...etc), museum visits (the Wellcome Collection), and our person interests as designers. As a collective we decided we were uninterested in exploring AI and instead sought to explore human emotions and love. We provided a folder of media references and inspirations for the group receiving this concept, as well as recommended readings, videos, and a questionnaire to ensure the topic was approached with an open mind.
Notebook pages taken from group brainstorming to lead us to our original concept
After the project swap, we were given a concept that prompted us to think about loneliness in 50 years time, the year 2070, and how we may combat that in a new digital revolution. Through a series of brainstorming techniques, including mind mapping and role playing exercises, we refound our desire to move away from technology and became interested in looking at the loneliness experienced after a death. Projecting 180 years into the future, we believe the concept of death will change. The greiving process may be different as the physical space of a graveyard or a body changes, but we believe the emotions associated with loss will remain unchanged.
Our response is solUS, enhances the human by eliminating loneliness and realizing that everyone grieves differently. Whether you want to relive your memories through a AR headset (designed to be reminiscent of a funeral fascinator), forget your loved one through an innovative pill, or integrate them into you through a surgical transplant, solUS is there to facilitate.
Prop of pill bottle to allow a person to forget the memories of their loved one