Wearable Technology – Design Studio

NASA Wearable Technology Design Studio

During the course of the NASA Wearable Technology Design Studio, students research and develop solutions for specific problems faced by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.  Using a more scientific approach to product design, student groups develop a series of wearable technology projects using Arduino and various electronic sensors, actuators, LEDs and other devices while conducting design research.  The focus is to improve astronauts’ efficiency, safety and health during space flight.  Students work closely with our NASA mentor to identify current needs, and also collaborate with engineers from partner universities and industries.

What we did

  • Literature review
  • Design research
  • Problem definition and project proposal
  • Design, prototyping and testing
  • Create a final working prototype
  • Present project at annual WT symposium

Clients / Collaborators

person in harness and gloves holding a tablet
person wearing fingerless gloves with integrated technology

Problem Statement

The Wearable Electronics Application and Research (WEAR) Lab at NASA develops wearable devices that meet a range of needs in human spaceflight. The Lab is currently interested in developing wearable devices with onboard power and wireless communication that can be attached to the body without specialized clothing. Students in Professor Pailes-Friedman’s Wearable Technology Design Studio work with the program director, Cory Simon, to define and develop solutions for use in the WEAR Lab.

The students work to develop a functional wearable device that meets some human spaceflight need, based on concepts presented in use case scenarios provided by NASA. The particular application is up to the team. The projects are a collaboration between design students at Pratt and electrical engineering and computer science students at partner universities.

NASA Project Collaboration Led by Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman’s Design Studio Class

Adjunct Associate Professor of Industrial Design Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman taught a wearable technology design studio class last fall in which Pratt students collaborated with engineering students from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) on a project for NASA’s WEAR lab.

model shoulder with technology built into a harness
A model shows smart technology on a pocket
A designer adds technology to a garment
A designer adds technology to a garment


The NASA Wearable Technology CLUSTER (Collaboration for Leveraging Universities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research) engages students in NASA’s technology development efforts by connecting engineers and scientists in the conceptualization and prototyping phases of development with university faculty and students in relevant fields.

Professor Pailes-Friedman’s Wearable Technology Design Studio has participated in the CLUSTER for several years. Once a year, all participating schools gather to present their research and demonstrate their prototypes at the annual Wearable Technology Symposium at Johnson Space Center. Pailes-Friedman's class receives funding from the NY State Space Grant Consortium to participate in the symposium.