Global Graduates at Design Indaba: biodegradable shoes, insulin kits for kids & more

Each year, a handful of design graduates from around the world are given the chance to present their work to the audience at Cape Town creative conference Design Indaba. This year’s graduates presented some innovative ideas – from an insulin injection kit for children with diabetes to a biodegradable shoe…

Ten graduates were selected to speak at the Cape Town conference last week – here we introduce you to three, each working in a different part of the world and a different sector but unified in their will to solve some of the world’s problems using design.

Aleksandra Gosiewski – clothes made with kelp 

A graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Gosiewski set out create clothes that are kinder to the environment. She researched resources that are naturally abundant and easily replenished and eventually developed a way to make fibres from kelp – which doesn’t need to be farmed and grows almost all over the world.

@Algiknit bioyarn being handknit into a fully fashioned zero-waste tank by our own @aleksandra.gos for the #NYTM #CraftingChange exhibit @museumatfit. Machine washing of synthetic textiles, themselves a primary source of climate change and landfill waste, is also responsible for 2/3 of the primary micro plastics in the ocean —which contain and absorb toxic chemicals and pathogens that move through the food web.  A fleece jacket can shed as many as 250,000 plastic fibers per wash! @Algiknit seeks to #rethinkeverything about how we make, use and dispose of products in one of the most polluting industries in the world, to counter climate change, plastic pollution and fresh water scarcity. 5 days left to V O T E for our National Geographic Chasing Genius finalist idea! Link in bio ????♻????♻????

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She has since founded AlgiKnit, a company that specialises in developing environmentally friendly materials and fibres for apparel and footwear.

The company has successfully developed a kelp-based ‘bioyarn’ that can be used to make knitted garments and a biodegradable shoe:

AlgiKnit’s AlgiKicks shoe is made from a kelp-based material. The shoe provides a biodegradable alternative to traditional trainers, which AlgiKnit claims can take 1,000 years to decompose

Renata Souza – helping kids with diabetes

Originally from Mexico, Souza is a product designer and recent graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York. She’s developed Thomy, an insulin injection kit for children with Type 1 diabetes.

Souza says the project was inspired by her six-year-old nephew who has diabetes. A medical tool masquerading as a toy, it contains a set of temporary tattoos with ‘dots’ that allow children to keep track of where they have injected themselves. (Doctors recommend that people ‘rotate’ injection sites to avoid injecting in the same place each day.) The insulin pen has been redesigned to better fit a child’s hand and the kit comes in a colourful case.

“Both products are intuitive and playful, adding a bit of fun and whimsy to the process of managing a difficult condition,” says Souza.

Simon Dogger – helping the blind read body language 

When Simon Dogger lost his vision, he found his ability to communicate with people was greatly affected. He was still able to hear but he was no longer able to read body language and facial expressions.

Inspired by his desire to be able to read these physical cues, Dogger developed the Emotion Whisperer – an app that helps visually impaired people detect basic emotions using a pair of glasses. A camera fitted to glasses can detect basic signs of different emotions such as anger or sadness. This data is then sent to the app and communicated to users via a hand-held vibrating sensor, translating body language and expressions into haptic signals that the user can “feel”.

Read more about Design Indaba’s Global Graduates here

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