Graduation 2016 Project

Anja Neidhardt

Department: Design Curating and Writing

The Smartwatch and its Countermovement

Smartwatches promise to do more than display the time; they
claim to solve our time management problems. With built-in
sensors they monitor our behaviour and tell us what to do – to
help us become better versions of ourselves. According to their
creators, smartwatches reduce stress; a very tempting offer.
Anja Neidhardt researched the history and present of designed
time systems, from the bells of ancient monasteries to stateof-
the-art digital applications.
Her unmistakable conclusion: smartwatches do not live up to
their promise. They take control and overload us with distracting
alerts and digital information, creating even more confusion.
On top of that, they’re actually not all that ‘smart’ and it’s not easy
to master their functions.
Neidhardt also found interesting countermovements. An elegant
‘shivering bracelet’ for example, that vibrates every five minutes.
Or an analogue ‘activity tracker’, that shows your movements
with a liquid that splits into smaller droplets. Will these alternative
approaches help us to deal with time on our own terms?

Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Skrekkøgle