VALID: Value in Design


Marek Strandberg

Seems obvious that there is certain limits for the energy and resources consumption by human civilisation. All time man made technology have had the crucial and often destroying role for other species and living structures on Earth. Actually is not correct too much criticise western people acted 100 years ago because of start of intensive use of fossil energy sources. It was most probably necessarily made step. At least it avoided the extensive use of forest resources but generated the unlimited use others. Historically mankind has been quite often caused the significant stress to the ecosystem as well we know about the cosmic influences to Earth caused by meteorites and comets. The mankind activities in last century, driven by industrial reflexes and ambitions has been crossed the tolerance limit of nature. That believe today many of nations and therefore we can meet today many of programs and conventions trying to reduce the energy and resources use in industrial civilisations. Such advantages and preconditions have leaded technology development to miniaturisation path. Nanotechnology and sizing down to molecular level the different machinery - those are the one type of hopes and fundaments for less environmentally stressful society. And where is the best environment for better embedding of such technical solutions? Surely clothing.

It is environmentally less costly to control the closest space around human body instead of controlling of entire city-space with habitants.

One sample for illustration: in cities for illumination during evening and night times is used 50-250 watts of electrical power per habitant. All for better vision and for better illusion. There is easy to imagine less energy consuming substitute for cities illumination: sensitive computer controlled camera with semi transparent eye projectors (like eyeglasses). Energy consumption per habitant: few watts only.

For moving in industrial societies people use daily two or three magnitudes more energy than consumed in food form for our own organisms. Actually we moving the movers (cars, planes, trains, ferries) instead of ourselves because our body masses are only the fraction from movers masses. The development of artificial muscles and actuators based on smart molecular structures is one of the promising branch of the molecular technologies. Such actuators estimated energy consumption can be approximately equals to daily food energy demand when used for amplifying human muscle power for daily displacement needs.

We see appearing of intelligent clothing and textiles for everyday use like the fur and animal skins allowed for humans in pre historical time reach new activities and explore the environment. Therefore is logical to ask: “Where and what are modern caves or huts for persons with intelligent second skin?”

Installing simultaneously into clothing and into houses high-tech solutions is not the best way for reduction of use of non-renewable resources. Wearable computing, communication and human capacity amplifiers and supporters embedded into clothing - this is the technology future suiting well with simplified and ecological living environment. Ecological construction and spatial planning will complete from low tech side the personal high tech skins. Increase of quality of food and living environment as well as health seems to be caused more by low tech solutions (like ecological building and farming) as normally expected.

All species on Earth dealing with tasks in triangle of information-energy-matter. How to use energy for transforming of matter for different purposes. High technology and enhanced virtual reality in form of smart skin will create more perfect common sense and more consistent information as well as coherent and adequate behaviour. Low technology solutions will at the same time secure physical environment fitting into natural metabolism chains and solar energy fluxes. That is the core of low and high tech synergy: to be personally informed and protected enough for taking sustainable solutions in the Earth environment.