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Brief 7: Wearing Intelligence 2.0

Develop a design solution that utilises ‘advanced textiles’ (fabric that has been enhanced by new technologies) to improve wellbeing or the quality of people’s lives.






  • Providing us with comfort, safety and shelter for thousands of years, textiles are the material that we have our most intimate relationships with, literally cloth-ing our bodies from head to toe.

  • But while most of us associate textiles with soft furnishings, clothing and upholstery, the future of textiles is changing in a big way – textiles stand at the forefront of material technology, offering a staggering range of characteristics for designers to exploit

  • ‘Advanced textiles’ refers to fabrics that have been developed with new technologies that provide added value to the wearer. They are being used to make progress in clothing, healthcare, transportation, human habits and architecture; they can keep emergency personnel safe with flame and chemical retardant fabrics, guard against extreme environmental hazards like radiation, and support our heath by monitoring breathing patterns and skin temperature.

  • Advanced textiles includes the world of ‘smart textiles’, which refers to fabrics that can sense and react to environmental conditions or stimuli from mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical or magnetic sources.

How should you approach this brief?

  • This brief asks you to explore the world of advanced and smart textiles, and to find an application where their use can offer a significant benefit to the user, or even society as a whole. How can textiles be used to keep us safer? Support our health and well-being? Help us communicate? Transport us faster? Reduce our environmental impact?

  • Responses should explore the technical properties of advanced textiles, but also consider the emotional benefits and qualities.

  • Think how physical products could interact seamlessly with connected and digital worlds. Make sure you clearly define the specific problem or issue you have chosen to address, articulating how you identified it and making it clear how advanced textiles are integral to your solution (be wary of ‘bolting on’ the technology).

  • The full life-cycle of designs should be considered – where the raw material is sourced from, and what processes it must undergo to its eventual end of life scenario.

For the purposes of inspiration only, valid responses could include:

    • medical applications which improve day-to-day living with chronic conditions or life changing events, aid medical treatment, or improve the quality of life for an ageing population
    • industrial applications which increase efficiencies in the work place, reducing risk of injury, or protecting and enabling safe working
    • consumer applications which deliver real time feedback to users, address everyday human needs in new and intelligent ways, or enhance and humanise technology when used as part of a greater eco-system

… and many others are possible; creative and imaginative solutions which reach beyond these illustrations are encouraged.

Please note: this is an excerpt from the brief, for the full text and information, please download the brief.


There are two awards available for this brief:

Eddie Squires Award of £2000

Placement at Kinneir Dufort

Grant to support living expenses: £1,133 / month

Placement duration: 3 months, with potential to extend or transition to full-time position

Location: Bristol, UK

The judging panel may decide on more than one winner/s and will allocate the awards accordingly. In addition, the judging panel may award commendations.

Sponsored by

Eddie Squires Legacy to the RSA

With additional support from

Kinneir Dufort and Materials Council


Aug 2018 – Briefs launch + register your interest online

Mon 14 Jan 2019 – Competition opens for submissions via

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 4 pm GMT – Deadline for ‘early bird’ submissions at reduced entry fee of £25

Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4 pm GMT – Final deadline for online registration + submissions (£35 entry fee)

20 Mar 2019 – Judging begins (2 stages: anonymous shortlisting + interviews with finalists)

May 2019 – Winners announced

Jun 2019 – Awards ceremony

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