Tata Elxsi, a global design company that blends technology, creativity, and engineering, has won this year’s iF Design Award, a world-renowned award for design excellence. The award was handed to Tata Elxsi for its innovative and exceptional design concept for Mixed Reality (MR) Based Smart Assistive Wearable Devices.
Tata Elxsi designed these devices to help people with special needs such as Autism or Alzheimer’s to deal with social situations, which they might otherwise find difficult. The system is deliberately discreet and the clever use of audio ensures others in the environment are less aware of the support being provided. For example, the device may help people recognize a person whose name they may have forgotten, or support the individual in stressful situations by playing music or pre-recorded calming phrases, says a press release.
The devices employ Mixed Reality by taking information from input devices like discrete wearable cameras driving facial and environment recognition and microphones then, feeding back to the user using earphones/ear buds and sound collars. These devices in turn help users to participate in social interactions by giving them subtle guides in the form of audio cues.
“We were interested in MR solutions that did not require headsets or visual feedback, which we believe may not be appropriate for everyone,” said Jack Quarmby, a Designer at Tata Elxsi London Studio. “A combination of ‘natural vision’ for environment perception, combined with augmented audio seemed to open up interesting use cases. Seeing this as an opportunity, we designed an innovative solution, which is less intrusive than an obvious ‘wearable’ and yet has potential to be chic, smart and desirable. These devices use face and environment recognition cameras which are designed to empower the users to provide support in an active but understated way.”
iF Design Awards, which dates back to 1953, is an international design competition organized by Germany’s oldest independent design organization, Hannover-based iF International Forum Design GmbH.
Nick Talbot – Head of Design & Innovation at Tata Elxsi said, “Getting recognized globally for our work is really rewarding. This award is a testament to Tata Elxsi’s multi-disciplinary design and technology teams for creating world-class solutions across industries. For these MR based Smart Assistive devices, we see real-world application opportunities in healthcare, social care, augmented retail experiences, entertainment through audio gaming, and others that would be interest to service providers and solution providers in these segments.”
A part of the Tata Group, Tata Elxsi is amongst the world’s leading providers of design and technology services across industries including Automotive, Broadcast, Communications and Healthcare.