The hydration vest concept combines computer-aided design and human intuition

AI is a hot and chaotic topic these days, with lots of vocal people on both sides of the fence. There is no denying that this technology is challenging many of our long-held traditions and practices, and it will inevitably change the way we do things, for better or for worse. AI affects all industries, including those least associated with computers, data and statistics, industries like art and, well, design. With all the trappings, AI is really just a tool like any other. It can be used for disease, or it can be used to improve our quality of life or our effectiveness, as demonstrated by this design concept that combines the computing power of AI with the creativity and judgment of the human mind.

Designer: Tee Vignoli

If you’ve seen stunning but controversial art produced by AI, it’s not because artificial intelligence and neural networks suddenly got creative, at least not in the same sense as humans. These are the results of analyzing hundreds or thousands of sources and applying trial and error processes at a speed of milliseconds rather than hours. In other words, AI is great at working with large amounts of data in a short amount of time, something that even the smartest of people pales in comparison.

Aliqua is a design research project that uses this power to create a design that, at the end of the day, benefits the target audience. In this case, it is a hydration vest aimed at middle and long-distance runners who need one to two liters of water for a run. Of course, this isn’t a new category of equipment, but typical hydration vests have many flaws. The location of each water bladder is often near where the body stores most of its heat, causing the water to quickly lose its coolness. The vests also either spring a lot or are too tight to be comfortable.

The computer design used data from hundreds of sources to determine the best shapes and positions for the water reservoir and straw to minimize the effect of heat from both the body and the environment. The bladders, for example, were separated into two parts and placed away from the hottest spot in the middle of the back. It also generated ideas for perforated patterns to make the vest more breathable and comfortable even when moving.

Of course, the creative process doesn’t end there, and the designer still has to separate good results from bad ones. Also, details need to be added and materials chosen so AI doesn’t just deliver a final design on a silver platter. The greatest achievement of this project is not only the production of a more efficient and comfortable hydration vest, but also the creative process that demonstrates the effective use of AI in design while affirming the crucial role that humans still have to play in order to create something useful, elegant , and well designed.

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