Unexpected Opportunties: the Convergence of Digital and Physical Interaction

Julie Arrive´ and Alex Hulme are the co-founders of Approach Studio and will serve as Jury Captains for the 2024 Core77 Design Awards Emerging Technologies category. This category features systems, services, research, hardware, or software products created with the aid of recently created or developed software and hardware technologies. Examples can include projects that incorporate the use of artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), blockchain technologies, robotics, biometrics, advanced materials or new production processes.

Julie Arrive´, Co-Founder and Design Director, Approach Studio

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Julie Arrive´, Co-founder and Design Director, Approach Studio

From fishnet sensors to footfall counters to machine vision for farming, Julie Arrive´ loves to see innovative technology ideas – in even the most unexpected contexts. “As consumers, we’re used to [seeing] products for [ourselves] and our homes, but the world of B2B technology products is fascinating, and we love coming across great use of technology in very specific sectors.”

After years spent working with industrial design consultancies around the globe, Julie has moved into the role of Design Director of Approach Studio. Through this design agency, Julie and her colleagues develop hardware solutions using emerging technology, serving a client mix of startups and larger, more established organizations. Julie also enjoys experimenting with speculative and future technology usage and brings that innate sense of curiosity and excitement to her role as Jury Captain for the Core77 Design Awards Emerging Technologies category.

Given the substantial energy and attention she has devoted to considering new technology products, Julie has learned to prioritize certain qualities. As she said, “The line between great hardware products and gadgets can sometimes be fine, so making genuinely great products that solve problems, bring joy, and add value to people’s lives is a preoccupation when designing.” She also warns against focusing too narrowly on “materiality” when designing a product with sustainability in mind, believing that a product with a long lifespan can be equally, if not more, valuable in the long run.

To Core77 Design Awards entrants, Julie emphasizes the power of good storytelling in their submissions: “What the product does (or how it came about) can be as important as how the final idea looks.”

Alex Hulme, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Approach Studio

Alex Hulme, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Approach Studio

After two decades spent designing and manufacturing products, Alex Hulme now spends much of his time exploring the convergence of digital and physical interaction and crafting tomorrow’s technology products. Much of that work involves implementing new technology for the post-smartphone world. “Through smartphones, we’ve all become digital interface experts, but physical objects are playing catchup in many ways,” said Alex.

As Creative Director of Approach Studio, Alex strives to help clients (from big tech like Google, Logitech, and Nothing to up-and-coming hardware startups) not just catch up but get ahead. Before co-founding Approach, Alex spent the best part of a decade at Map Project Office, where he served as studio co-director and oversaw creative output for clients like Sky, Google, and Deutsche Telekom.

Today, Alex is focused on making technology that lasts. As he said, “Emerging technology products often have short lifespans, and making them long-lasting is even more challenging than in more established categories.” To meet this ongoing challenge, Alex and his team continue to focus on finding new, better ways to design, build, prototype, and mass produce.

Casa Pop-Up Desk for Logitech from Approach.

For Core77 Design Award entries, Alex hopes to see strong projects that have a clear sense of the problem they’re solving: “If you have that, often the project speaks for itself.”

MouthPad^ by Augmental

The 2023 winner in the Emerging Technologies category was Mouthpad^, by Augmental, an intraoral interface that uses the tongue to interface with computing devices used in daily life, an innovation that has enormous potential for those in the disability community as well as for continuous health monitoring and more.

If you’ve got a great story to tell about your groundbreaking technology, submit it to the 2024 Core77 Design Awards.

Source: core77

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