NASA astronaut in space
A haptic sleeve that would provide a sense of touch as astronauts manipulate a robotic arm is among the wearable technology projects a design professor is collaborating on with engineering faculty at UC Davis. (NASA Photo)

Weaving Design and Engineering for Next-Gen Wearables

Thanks to partnerships with faculty in the College of Engineering, design professor Gozde Goncu-Berk is realizing innovative research into wearable technology at the University of California, Davis.  

These include a project with Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Houman Homayoun to develop an obtrusive urinary monitor to help those who experience urinary incontinence to research with Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Jonathon Schofield to create a sleeve that offers astronauts sensory information from a robotic arm. 

"This was an idea I had for many years before I was here at UC Davis, but I was never able to fully actualize it," Goncu-Berk said of the urinary monitor. "But with the right collaborators here, now we have a functional prototype." 

Yet, the advantages go both ways, showcasing the fruitfulness of an interdisciplinary approach to wearable technology. 

"Humans are very interesting to design for, and Gozde entered the equation as someone with expertise in wearables who works with materials, garments, fabrics and mediums that we don't normally see in classical engineering," said Schofield. "She's just an incredibly creative individual with a ton of expertise in the area."  

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