Fontys ILS Coolhunt Update January ’14

Every 5 weeks a few students from Fontys International Lifestyle Studies come together with their Coolhunt-lecturers to brainstorm on all signs of the time. What are the signals worth analyzing and what do we learn about the developing mentalities worldwide?

Constructed by Camiel Willems, Desiree Laureijssen, Fleur Stiels, Lidy Ubaghs and Nathalie de Korver. Supervised and written by Ingeborg Bruinewoud.

As we started our brainstorm in Fontys’ creative hub ‘House of Creative Concepts’ in the Spoorzone in Tilburg where a former industrial area now is used to boost innovation to give space to startups, creatives and the students from our own school, we couldn’t skip the topic ‘education’. Fontys made plans to move the whole ‘Academy for Creative Industries’ to this area but unfortunately the plans were canceled two months ago.
When we come to think of the future for education, it might not even be such a bad decision. Since Sir Ken Robinson’s speech on how schools kill creativity the debate on how to radically change our educational system hasn’t stopped.
One of the main themes we found during our brainstorm was ‘everything personalized‘, a term that is applicable to a lot of different fields, education and learning being one of them. Thanks to the digitalization learning has become less of a commodity and more reachable to everyone. Online you can learn what you want to learn in stead of the ‘collateral damage’ some of the subjects during your education are. See for example the collaboration between Khan Academy and Comcast ‘to bring free education content to those who need it most or can barely afford it’.
The possibility to ‘zapp’ between interests and combine your own education program outside of the school building will highly improve a hybrid education type in which the classroom will be flipped, learning will take place online and offline and will always be catered to your personal needs. In five years the classroom will learn you:


‘Personalized Learning: Future Technology Prediction from IBM’

Besides that learning will become more visual, whereas info graphics talk to us faster and clearer than a teacher ever could. Or books telling the stories a teacher rather wouldn’t:


‘Het Grote Sexboek by Studio Julliette Schraauwers’

But in the end education can’t get more personalized than when it is chosen by the student. The institutionalized school-building indeed doesn’t have to be center of learning in the future. Definitely not when 13 year-old Logan Laplante inspires other kids to hack education the way he does:


Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada

Or what about the gamification we see as part of education in schools, but also to let people outside learn through experiences? The Dutch society for community-workers is fed up with the amount of violence they come in contact with during their work on for example an ambulance and are planning to launch an interactive experience game. Or to understand people that suffer from dementia better through the Into D’mentia experience installation.
Experiencing time always was quantified by hours, seconds and clocks, forgetting that time can be experienced subjectively due to context and its receiver. Durr will vibrate every five minutes and make you aware of the passing of time but not giving you the exact time. It’s up to you what you do with it. Another way of experiencing time is by smell where Scent Rhythm Watch maps fragrances in sequence with the body’s circadian cycle; waking up, being active, relaxing and sleeping. For every state the watch will release a fragrance selected for that time of day. What’s better than waking up with the smell of coffee in the morning?

Blended senses

Blended senses

Of course learning and experience changes with technology’s development. We’ve seen a lot of ‘Blended Senses‘ examples coming across the last few weeks. Last year IBM published their annual ‘5 in 5‘ about senses. And indeed within a years change digital taste buds will help you eat smarter, you can taste the food you see on TV and computers already have a sense of smell. Multi-sense experiences are becoming more and more important says  Jinsop Lee:


‘Jinsop Lee: Design for all 5 senses TEDx’

Letting kids just sit in front of a screen bothers a lot of parents and developers. Tactility is an important part of developing (motor) skills in human beings. That is why Disney Research has developed a 3D Tactile TouchScreen. Or what about an interactive touchscreen on a water surface?
The other way around: scientists from Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center have created sensors that help restore natural sensation within prosthesis through nerve stimulation. Now robotic parts of a human-exoskeleton can feel as well.
Also our sight can be manipulated as we saw last year with the invincibility cloak and more recently with the Invisible Bike Helmet (although that one doesn’t stay invisible…).


The Invisible Bicycle Helmet

SickWeather Map

Personalized Health

Technology will help us to get more personalized healthcare too in the future. We can wear our own defibrillator, or even live without a heart. Wearables will help to quantify ourselves more and more, wearing Wristify to heat or cool our body and check our SickWeather app for the sickness forecast and where to stay away. In stead of symptom treatment, we will more and more move towards addressing the cause. Where ‘upstream healthcare‘ starts with taking a critical look at the buildings we stay in.

Last but not least, one of our special lecturers Carl Rohde once said that ‘sleep is the new sex’, living in stress society with a growing need for relaxing moments. The topic sleep got a lot of attention in press lately: more people start experimenting with alternative sleeping cycles like polyphasic sleep  or monitor, map and improve the way we sleep and wake up. Maybe Russell Foster’s TEDx talk on sleeping got mainstream viral by now.

Meta-insight: we might check our rich sources everyday and try to map movements in the present towards the future. We do have to stay self-aware and critical. Are those TEDx talks and predictions we hear and read about trustworthy? Can we copy and use those insights? 


‘New perspectives – What’s wrong with TED talks? Benjamin Bratton’

Next month we will be back with a new update!

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