Life-changing Inventions by RCA Students at Dubai Design Week 2018

Twelve innovative projects by Royal College of Art graduates addressing contemporary global challenges and technologies will be among 150 life-changing inventions exhibited in the Global Grad Show at Dubai Design Week. The RCA projects were chosen from more than 1,000 entries and will be shown alongside work from 100 global universities, including Harvard and MIT and institutions from around the world. 

Dean of the RCA's School of Design Professor Paul Anderson said: ‘We are proud to have 12 Royal College of Art projects featured in the Global Grad Show. These projects have the power to make a difference and improve people's lives. At the RCA, we seek to challenge and develop a strategic view of design that’s not solely technology based or leading edge, but is human-centred, transparent, responsible and ethical, and places equal value on the process of design and the impact on global communities. We aim to change people's lives for the better.’

Projects addressing artificial intelligence (AI) include Opacity by Mikhail Wertheim Aymes (MA Global Innovation Design, 2018), a service that provides ethical consulting to companies that are developing AI algorithms; and Lacu by Studio Beck – Ken Fujiyoshi, Chiu Chih, Ben Moffatt and Eun Kyung Shin (MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2017), which is a tool for experiencing a secure, anonymous and therapeutic interaction with AI. Inspired by people’s tendency to suppress negative feelings, this wall-mounted device encourages users to verbalise their problems or anxieties in order to find a solution.

Other innovative uses of technology include The Touching Illusion by Dongyuan Li (MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2018), an interactive device that uses physical sensations and virtual reality (VR) to help train medical students to identify tumours by touch; and Ripple by Huishan Ma, Lyle Baumgarten, Maria Apud Bell and Jonathan Rankin (MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2017), a wearable extension of the body designed for the future of dating. The device uses computer vision to scan a room and calculate who in it is attracted to the wearer. When the device finds someone, it sends a ‘ripple’ up the wearer’s spine, reflecting the excitement one feels when meeting a potential match.

Some RCA graduates are addressing complex social issues in their projects: Lewis Hornby (MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2018) worked to solve the problem that dehydration represents to people with dementia: it reduces the quality of life for many and left unchecked it can be fatal. Jelly drops are super-hydrating, made of 90% water. Their solid format increases hydration as it gives the kidneys a better chance to absorb the water. People with dementia instantly recognise Jelly Drops as treats, exciting and encouraging them to eat independently thereby increasing quality of life, reducing reliance on others and improving social interactions between carers and residents. Seray Ozdemir (MA Design Products, 2018) presents Corridor Society: a collection of furniture designed to transform corridors into social spaces. The collection features four pieces: a seat that wraps around a corner, a combined seat and coat rack, a stackable shelving unit and a set of wall-mounted cushions.

Global Grad Show curator, Brendan McGetrick said: ‘Global Grad Show is not only a showcase of ideas from the brightest young minds around the world, it’s a celebration of creativity and optimism. Graduates today are faced with daunting truths such as climate change, automation, and mass migration. Each of these projects offers a restorative solution; an idea of how to make human-scale changes with the hope of bettering humankind as a whole.'

The Royal College of Art will also be represented elsewhere at Dubai Design Week with print alumnus Saeed Almadani (MA Print, 2018) one of two Emirati designers selected to represent Dubai’s pavilion in Adwab 2018 – an exhibition and architectural installation at Dubai Design Week. Almadani's work ‘Between the Lines’ draws on elements of conceptual, minimalist and abstract strategies to explore the relationship between language, place and material form, and the process of writing and (de)constructing identities that are central to his practice.

Dr Adrian Lahoud, Dean of the School of Architecture, will be a keynote speaker at UAE MODERN and Dubai Design Week Sustainability Conference on Thursday 15 November. He will also be a panellist on 'Architectural Education: from the Perspective of the Future of the Profession’.


Find out more about Design Products, Global Innovation Design and Innovation Design Engineering at the RCA and how to apply.