Designer: Hanky Pancreas - Jessica Floeh
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Category: Soft Goods/Apparel
Award: Professional Notable
Hanky Pancreas is a series of design solutions for women wearing diabetes technologies such as insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. The products transform the devices into fashion accessories to make them more wearable, instigate new conversations about health, and bring more awareness and social acceptance to living with diabetes.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 4 and was hesitant to use an insulin pump until I was 21 years old. Always a creative person, I conceptualized new ways to hide the device once I became part machine. Curious as to why this device impacted me so much, I enrolled into Parsons The New School For Design to pursue graduate work in the field of Design and Technology.
While there I focused on design projects that addressed health and wellness. My final year at Parsons consisted of heavy research and prototyping of solutions to improve experiences for those living with diabetes. I worked with a focus group of women from ACT1 Diabetes Young Women's Support Group and conducted surveys within the diabetic communities online. At Parsons I was fortunate to be connected with leading experts and professors that guided my design process. Since graduating I've continued to make contacts with experts in the field of medicine as well as fashion.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
This award is among some other simultaneously exciting events for Hanky Pancreas. Beginning in mid-June, some of my first prototypes became part of a year long exhibition at DHUB Museu in Barcelona about the relationship between humans and machines. Additionally, Hanky Pancreas was just part of the 2011 European Conference on Design4Health that ran from July 13-15.
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
Everyone loves the name, some people ask how I thought of it. I have what appeared to be a useless talent for naming things and playing with words. I was stewing on a much earlier and different version of this project idea at the very beginning of my thesis work at Parsons The New School For Design. And then one night I sat straight up in my bed (it was probably 3 am) and I excitedly whispered to myself "HANKY PANCREAS!" I immediately opened up my laptop, squinted my eyes from the brightness, and plugged in www.hankypancreas.com - I couldn't believe it when I discovered the domain name was available. I purchased it right then and there. The work truly fits the name; playful yet diabetes-related. It makes people light up and smile. It invites positive questions.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.