How to Connect IT and Fashion

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MSD IT and the Fashion Design studio at UMPRUM (the Academy of Arts, Architecture, and Design in Prague) have struck up a collaboration within the context of a two-semester research & experimental project on the topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) which seeks a marriage between creativity and technology in the spirit of innovation and humanism. The project examines AI as a phenomenon from the vantage point of the millennials – the first native-born digital generation, with its natural urge to become personally engaged, to assume responsibility, and to take a sustainable approach to production and consumption. Areas of interest comprise healthcare, digital therapy, gaming, well-being, social mapping, big data, deep learning, augmented and mixed reality. Projects by individual students showcase unique creative visions, bolstered by relevant visual project descriptions that include original methods, techniques, and applications. The cream of the crop will be presented in the form of a multimedia exhibition at the prestigious Ars Electronica in Linz (Austria) in September 2018 and at the Designblok exhibition in Prague in October 2018.

The collaboration itself was centered around two lectures on the topic Digital Health/Wearable (Josef Holý), two Design Thinking workshops (Bob Marvan, Klára Sedláková, Inka Pavelka) – which covered original projects by students as well as a group project on a specific assignment: the redesign of a shirt capable of real-time ECG readings (in collaboration with the Žilina-based textile research institute VÚTECH-CHEMITEX and the department of biomedical engineering UNIZA Žilina) – and an excursion to the international WEAR IT festival in Berlin which brings together tech and creativity.

All these activities (lectures and workshops) have shown that it is possible to foster interplay between the industry (MSD) and a highly creative field of study (Fashion Design at UPRUM) by drawing upon a shared methodology for the creation of interactive, digital, user-centric products and services (Design Thinking) with the potential to impact (directly or tangentially) the lifestyle of individuals (i.e., patients) and thus to improve their health.
The groundwork has thus been laid for further mutual cooperation in future semesters which ought to produce concepts and quite possibly commercially viable products for real-life use.

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