Exploring Practitioners 3: Home-Based Facial Waxing Service – Rachel Teo

Creative Practice

@browsbyrach.sg is a home-based wax beautician. The main service she provides is brow shaping and waxing accompanied by the filling in of the waxed brow. Her other services includes upper and lower lip waxing.

Brow Waxing Process Documentation

First, the area to-be-waxed is cleaned, any makeup and facial oils are removed with a cotton pad and a makeup remover and/or pre-treatment cleanser. Next, an “inked” string is used to carefully map out the shape and areas of the brows to be waxed off. Then a wooden applicator is dipped into the heated soft wax, and a thin layer of the wax is applied to the marked area for hair removal. Following, special waxing strips are used to secure onto the wax areas, and is ripped off swiftly in one motion, removing the unwanted hair in the process. After the general to-be-waxed areas are waxed, a pair of tweezers are used to pluck away any stray hairs that were not able to be waxed off in the process. Any wax residue is then removed by another cotton pad, soaked with post-treatment oil.

Workplace Documentation

The worksite is really small, not much space is needed as the equipment needed is compacted onto a small trolley, and the practice is generally stationary, except of the movement of the practitioner’s hands. The worksite consists of two chairs (one for her client, and another for her), a trolley of her tools, and a light source.


  • Chair
  • Hair removal wax
  • Wax heater
  • Wax applicator sticks
  • Waxing paper strips
  • Cotton pads
  • Powder
  • Make-up remover
  • Cleanser oil (pre treatment)
  • Wax remover oil (post treatment)
  • Hair clips and a hair band
  • Tweezers
  • Spoolie
  • Mirror
  • Light

Pain Points

The main difficulty was getting there, as her home was far off from the MRT station, and even required a walk from the bus stop. But she is unable to practice her work any where else but her home as she does not have any “shop space”, nor is there another appropriate space for her.

Exploring Practitioners 2: Home-Based Salon – Rachel Teo

Creative Practice: 

Mrs Chin is a home-based hair stylist. She has been in this profession for more than 20 years, but have been home-based for about 15 years. She does all kinds of hair services: hair cuts, straightening/curling, treatments, colour dying, wash and blowing, and styling. 

Workplace Documentation:

Her workplace consists of two workstations, consisting of a cushioned chair and mirror table top each. This meant that at any one time, she only attends to two clients at most. As her workplace is home-based, she is the only hair stylist, and has no assistant. Both workstations are situated right beside each other, due to the space constraints of her home, but this enables her to attend to both clients at the same time, as they are right beside each other. There is also a hair-washing station, consists of a lay-down salon chair, and an attached wash basin.


The main tools that she uses on an everyday basis are her scissors, shaver combs, hair clips, cape gown, as well as a brush to sweep away fallen hair on her client’s necks and shoulders – they are the basic tools needed to perform a simple haircut. Other tools consist of styling equipments – hair steamer, curler, straightener, rollers, dryer, treatment creams and hair dyes. 


A basic hair-cut process can be performed anywhere as the tools required are compactable into a toolbelt, and does not need power to be operated. Advanced hair services such as colouring and styling however incorporated more tools that requires a power source. Additionally, there needs to be a chair for clients to be seated down while the hair service takes place. Essentially, this creative profession can be performed anywhere as long as the required tools and a power source are present. So maybe something can be designed to make it easy to carry all the required tools, doubles up as a chair, and incorporates a power source.

Documentation for Prototype and Model & Exploring Practitioners 1: Seamstress – Rachel Teo

Worksite documentation:

I visited a seamstress to observe her at work, as well as the various tools that she needed for her creative profession. She has her own workspace that is the size of two sewing machine-tables. Two different types of sewing machines are needed because there is two main type of sewing stitches needed to create an article of clothing. At her workspace, we also has an entire wall-shelf decorated with threads of different colours and sizes. This is to ensure that she can colour match the thread to the various coloured clothing that customers bring in. 

Pain Points: 

She requires many different types of tools, which are kept all over her workplace. In the profession of sewing, there are also many tools that are small in size. So she has to be very careful where she keeps her tools, so that she does not misplace and cannot find anything.

From the various tools that she shared me, I wanted to create a device that incorporated as many of them as possible, and I came up with the assistant glove.

The tools incorporated included: a pin cushion, drawing chalk, scissors, a retractable straight ruler, a measuring tape, and a needle threading tool.

Initially, I thought that maybe it could work. After I created the model of the device, I realised that it was just a creative concept, but not functional. I put on the glove and tried to use them as if I were a seamstress, and thought that they were impractical, and would not work well when put into use. 

This assignment made me realise how important making models and prototypes were. It is not enough to think of an idea, but building the actual idea will help you see if the idea is actually functional. 

A better device would actually be a vest that gives them organization and easy access to their many tools! Sometimes thinking of a fancy idea may not be the best thing, but just a simple object that assists them in their daily activities is the sufficient enough.

Wearable Research – Karin Lew

WaverlyLabs’ Pilot Earpiece promises to translates languages in real time.


Practice it works in:

This earpiece is made by WaverlyLabs, a start-up company that was inspired by Star Trek’s Universal Translator and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s babelfish. When worn, Pilot sits in the ear to translate spoken foreign languages to the wearer. 

Imagine how useful that would be!

Specific use:

Designed as a pair of linked earpieces, Pilot connects to an app that uses speech recognition and machine translation to convert spoken language. It removes the awkwardness of phrase books or smartphone apps by playing a translated version directly to the listener.

Pilot can also be used to wirelessly listen to music, which can be shared with the earpiece of a companion.


Given that it is worn in our ears AND is wireless, I would imagine the mobility of Pilot to be barely restrictive and highly comfortable.

Utility vs Fashionability:

Seeing as to how it is similar in look to Apple’s latest wireless earpiece, I would give its design some credit in terms of its aesthetic. The earpieces also come in the right basic colours–neutrals are always in season, and easy compatibility is an added bonus.

In terms of utility, I truly think it is a brilliant idea. Language barriers have always been hard to overcome, even with the help of google translate (time has to be spent typing your message down and then finding the language and then waiting for your screen to generate the sentence in another language. With this earpiece, one will be able to IMMEDIATELY understand what the other person is saying without any hassle, isn’t that pretty darn useful? 10/10 for utility yes. 

The Makeup Artists’ Brush and Tool Belt Roll

Practice it works in:

Every MUA (Make Up Artist) uses it. It is convenient to hold their brushes while they apply makeup onto their model’s faces and can store a lot more other shenanigans. like eyelash curlers, tape, beauty grooming products, etc.

Specific Use:

  • Adjustable belt strap.
  • Varied size compartments can hold varied makeup brush and other slender makeup product.
  • Fanny pack only, brush and other accessories are not included.
  • An adjustable strap allows for the belt to be comfortably worn around the waist or over the shoulder


Extremely convenient and easy to move around in I would say. Greatly makes the job of a MUA easier. Non restricting to move around in as well

Utility vs fashionability:

I mean a fanny pack will only look that good…..

Utility wise, I believe that it is useful in being a wearable storage/holding area for the MUA’s tools and makeup. It might be even better if makeup could be stored in the utility belt as well perhaps. But then again that would definitely restrict movement….

Karin Lew A0158198M

Wearable Research — Jhnn Ymn

Touché – Wearable pods for musicians, artists, and performers

Practice it works in

Designed by Marie Tricaud for performers, musicians and listeners, Touché is a set of wearable pods that is intended to be used in any situation that features live music, such as festivals or musical performances. It thus has a particular focus on the artistic experience of music and sound, allowing those with a musical practice to be more sensitive to the sense of touch, with aims of creating an “immersive synaesthetic concert”.

Its specific use

Allowing musicians to compose and perform live music as temperature and vibrations on the user’s skin via wearable modules, Touché consists of multiple plastic pods that are meant to be attached to bare skin. They may be removed and inserted within a console that allows the musician/performer to program each pod to emit a specific sequence of stimuli.


Given that these are small pods attached to skin, the design affords for a great deal of mobility as it does not inhibit movement and seems to be as unobstrusive to movement as possible. Considering the contexts it is meant to be utilised in (music festivals, etc), it is likely that a lot of movement will take place, necessitating such a design. It is mentioned that the current working prototype relies on wires to connect the pads, which might limit mobility, while the designer is working towards a wireless version.

Utility vs Fashionability

While not particularly subtle or ‘invisible’, as some wearables attempt to be, the pods and the console are aesthetically very cohesive – blocky, colourful – and work in tandem with the playful nature of the project. In terms of utility, it plays a more artistic function, and seems to have a good balance of both utility and aesthetic.

Vibeat devices – For the deaf to experience music through touch

Practice it works in

Designed by Liron Gino for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to listen to music, this set of devices also has a particular focus on the experience on sound and its tactile nature, though geared more towards the experience of music for the deaf.

Its specific use

Featuring a set of devices that include a bracelet, a necklace, and a pin, all with circular modules attached, the Vibeat collection is able to translate tracks into vibrations, connecting to a music source via Bluetooth, with different units reacting to the differing ranges and frequencies within notes to generate vibrations at differing rates. Users are thus able to experience music through touch alone.


As the devices are rather elegantly designed as unobtrusive accessories, such as a necklace or bracelet, mobility seems to be retained by the user even through the use of the device.

Utility vs Fashionability

Similar to the above example, it seems to also serve utility in the sense that it is able to modulate musical experience, though for a different community. Through rather sleek design, it is able to maintain a good balance between utility and aesthetic.

Wearable Research – Wendy Neo

Usherette Tray 

Practice it works in:

The usherette tray is used in several professions, to carry and sell a variety of items. It is more commonly used and seen in the past, at the cinema or theatre, where the vendor will carry snacks, drinks and cigarettes in the tray for sale to customers during the interval. They are also seen in the stadium grandstands or in the streets. 

It’s specific use:

The vendor can place items he wishes to sell in the tray, then wear the straps on each shoulder with the tray in front of his body. The tray can be customizable by putting in dividers or cup/drink holders to make it more organized.


The tray is carried in front of the body, thus it is important for the vendor to keep his back straight or else the items might fall out from the tray. Additionally, if the items in the tray are heavy, it might cause some strain on the back and shoulders.

Utility vs fashionability:

The usherette tray is probably more useful than it is fashionable. Due to its basic design it can be used to hold and sell a variety of items. It is also possible to decorate the usherette tray depending on the vendor and the items sold in the tray, for example in the photo below. However, the tray would not be used as a fashion statement because of how bulky it is. 

how cute are those candy necklace favors...and the tray embellished with sweet.



Image result for fit bit

Practice it works in:

Can be used by people in the health and fitness industry, or anyone who wants to keep and active lifestyle and take note of their health 

It’s specific use:

A Fitbit is a health and fitness watch that tracks daily activities, exercise, sleep and weight. It is able to track your steps, distance walked, calories burned, sleep cycle etc. 


The Fitbit is worn easily on the wrist. It is around the same size as a regular watch, thus is quite unobstructive. 

Utility vs fashionability:

As seen from the picture above, the Fitbit has quite a sleek and aesthetically pleasing design, which complements how useful it is to track personal health information. 

Wearable Research – Darren

Finger Cots

Practice it works in
Informally known as finger condoms, you probably have seen these little wearables around before such as the grocery store. It is widely used in various industries but two prominent ones that I will mention are in the office and for medical use. In the workplace, finger cots can prevent paper cuts when going through many pages of paper and prevent contamination when dealing with delicate parts like semiconductors. In the medical field, it can be used for a range of medical procedures such as topical applications and keeping a wound dry because of its water-tight properties.

Specific Use
Often made up of flexible and materials like silicone, rubber, and latex, its specific use is for protection against accidental cuts, water, and heat. Additionally, it is made of anti-slip material like latex and rubber and often laced with grooves, allowing one to have a firmer grip.

Being small and made of flexible material, mobility of fingers/hands are not affected by the wearable. Additionally, it is more comfortable and less restrictive compared to a glove.

Utility vs Fashionability
The finger cot has plenty of utility providing many functions (mainly protection) but is not as fashionable because of how odd it looks just covering your fingers. It does come in different colors such as bright orange or plain beige. 

Oculus Rift

Practices used in

The Oculus Rift is a developed and manufactured by Oculus VR, a division in Facebook, and released in 2016. The headset is often used in Virtual Reality entertainment such as games, education, media, and art. It is also used for furthering the development of the VR technology (testing) with development kits.

Its specific use

The VR headset is connected to the system which allows its users to be immersed in a virtual reality by surrounding your sense of sight and hearing. It has other equipments such as as controllers, a head tracking system, and an operating system. It even has an app store (Oculus Store) to purchase software/programs for VR. It is used for all kinds of uses from media, education, social, industrial, but mainly for gaming. 


The worn device is connected to a computer via a cable and movement with the headgear is limited to the length of the device. You are able to move your head around in all directions from your neck as part of the VR experience.

Utility vs Fashionability

The Oculus Rift is clunky and slightly heavy but it does a darn fine job of obscuring your senses to make the experience seem super surreal. It is not fashionable at the very least in terms of appearance (you won’t walk around with the headgear in public) but the carbon black makes it look pretty sleek.

Tap and Hövding – Wearable Research – Reyna Corrales


 Invented by Dovid Schick and Dr. Sabrina Kemeny

Practice it works in:
Tap is for people who want to stay within the virtual reality environment but may be constrained by their physical surroundings. For instance, professionals can use this device to boost their presentation, work on the go and control complex commercial devices like never before.

People can use Tap when they travel for work, commute in small spaces and are in environments that are not suitable to lug around a bulky laptop or external keyboard to pair with your phone or tablet.

Specific use: 
Tap is a wearable Bluetooth keyboard that converts finger movements into keypresses, so users can compose text, play games, point, click and scroll using just about any available surface. The strap has five holes that you put your fingers through, and it’s embedded with sensors that track information about your hands and fingers.

By connecting to Bluetooth enabled devices, professionals are able to control their presentations or other media by tapping on surfaces. You can even take notes discreetly and efficiently! The possibilities are endless with the ability to activate and control software such as virtual & augmented reality, robotics and drones.

You can take Tap anywhere on the go! Packed in a slick carrying and charging case, it is a portable device that you can use on almost any surface.

Utility vs Fashionability:
Other than looking badass with a hi-tech brass knuckles wrapped around your fingers, Tap is also a comfortable wearable that slides and sits nicely onto your hand.

However, users may not be able to work as efficiently on soft surfaces. It is still better to tap your fingers with a good amount of force on a solid surface like a desk or table. It is also important to manually disable Tap when you’re not actively typing to avoid accidental keypresses.

Hövding Cycling Airbag

Invented by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin in Malmö, Sweden (2005)

Practice it works in:
The Hövding Cycling Airbag is the helmet for people who don’t like wearing helmets. Invented as a wearable airbag for cyclists, it protects the wearer’s head, neck, and shoulders in the event of a crash. In an independent study conducted by Stanford University, it was found to give the wearer up to eight times better protection than a standard helmet does.

For future focus, the Hövding may be applied to activities outside of cycling such as elderly with poor balance and even for professions within high-risk environments such as construction workers.

Specific use:
You simply put the Hövding around your neck, clip on the zip, press the button, stick it in your bag and off you cycle! In the event that the wearer actually gets into an accident – be it aggressive or subtle – the Hövding picks up on those movements and it will inflate. It goes from a scarf to a fully protected airbag around your head in in less than 100 milliseconds.

The device contains internal sensors which can detect a crash based on data gathered from thousands of simulated cycling accidents. When the device is turned on, it begins self-diagnostic tests and the sensor begins tracking your movement 200 times per second. It understands the difference between movements that are leading to an accident and safe everyday cycling.

If you’re in an accident and nobody is around, the Hövding sends out a signal to a loved one or the emergency services.

The conventional helmet is a hassle in terms of mobility as you have to carry it around once you’re off the bike. On the other hand, the Hövding sits nicely on your neck – packed with a battery, air bag and all that Swedish technology inside. It doesn’t need a companion app and definitely easier to lug around than a bulky helmet.

Utility vs Fashionability:
The Hövding, in its resting state, generally just looks like you’re wearing a scarf around your neck so it’s stylish (no helmet hair, yay!) and has no real hindrance on your ability to keep turning your head. It looks like a hood and is made in an ultra-strong nylon fabric that won’t rip when scraped against the ground. The fabric shell protects the device and can also change the design to match to your outfit.

However, when it’s activated, you are essentially wearing an inflated balloon on your head. If it turns out to be a dud or small accident where you can dust yourself off easily and the Hövding activates, the only thing hurt might be your pride.

Wearable Research – Loke Ting Wei

Wrist Analytics

Practice it works in

A hand-wearable device that uses multiple sensor technologies to record and communicate biometric data about wrist positioning. It creates a flexible platform to interact with their hand movement data through a mobile application, whether users are at work, home or gym.

The creator of Wrist Analytics, Jintong Zhu, wants to understand how hand-wearables can help us to interact with objects differently. Our hands are used to perform countless actions all day every day, consciously. Wrist Analytics can be used in various scenarios; by selecting either wristband, stickers, or splint. One of the representatives and case studies of the project is piano playing. Physical skills training and remote learning processes require understanding of wrist motion.

Specific use

Trained piano players always stay in a small range of wrist motion. The neutral position of the wrist in piano playing is recommended for both sound quality and hand health. During a piano practise session where the teacher is not around, the band could record the piece performed by the student. Moreover, the sensing system enables Wrist Analytics to receive wrist elevation, positioning and relaxation data. Between lessons, students can go to ‘weekly sessions’ and practice with the comparison data. Wrist Analytics helps to shape a better understanding of the movements required to skilfully perform physical actions. For instance, the device could be advanced to allowing users to learn how to play the piano from the wearable.

Wrist Analytics also serves as a health companion as it continuously tracks wrist motions while we perform daily activities, allows us to make corrections to have a happier and healthier life. For example, long periods of tense muscles and incorrect wrist posture at work on the computer can easily lead to wrist problems. Similarly, mothers taking care of a new-born frequently experience wrist pain, ranging from mild to severe pain. Wrist Analytics then notify you if your wrists needs some rest, and the splint can protect and ease the pain.


Users can choose to use Wrist Analytics in the form of wristband, stickers or splint, according to their daily activities. As they are also sleek and compact, Wrist Analytics is greatly mobile.

Utility vs Fashionability

With its sleek and monochrome design, it can suit different outfit styles and hence, is quite fashionable. It also has high utility as it is able to perform its job of sensing wrist elevation, positioning and relaxation and converting them into data shown in the app. However, it would be good if further improvements are made such that it could be a teacher or guide of its own, for example, by incorporating sensors, vibrations to guide one’s movements in a sport (eg. yoga, squash) or skill such as playing the piano or other instruments.


Practice it works in

Lunavity is a system designed by a group of students at Rekimoto Lab, The University of Tokyo, to augment the human capability of jumping. An attachable multi-rotor elevates the user during the movement, enabling them to leap higher and further. In the future, where drones are widely used for delivery and transportation, the same can be applied to augment users’ mobility. One can jump twice or three times as high. Lunavity adjusts to a human’s natural movements, to augment the wearer’s jumping ability. It also supports the body, giving a feeling of lightness to the wearer.

Specific use

Essentially, it allows humans to gain abilities totally new to man, and opens up to many possibilities of the future. For instance, it can be used in the area of sports, creating the potential for new kinds of sports as players can reach nearer to the ceiling. It could also be useful for the physically disabled and wheelchair-bound, where they can experience walking/jumping by bouncing or pushing their limbs for the first time. This would be life-changing for them. Moreover, into the future, if such technology becomes as accessible as smart phones, and has evolved to be more intuitive, we would need lesser stairs and elevators around.


You could carry it around like a backpack. However, it is still not as compact to bring it around every day, and storage could be a problem. Perhaps, allowing the device and multi-rotor part to be foldable and more lightweight, less bulky and heavy would be good.

Utility vs Fashionability

Some would say it looks stupid, and that it looks too heavy and bulky. Hence, its fashionability is debatable. Utility-wise, it is a revolutionary technology that teleports us to a Doraemon world, but the key is in its intuition and whether the sensors are accurate enough in detecting the human’s natural movement and how the users can control how much and how far to jump, and when they want to land. It has to be easy to control, or else this device would not go far in terms of using it in our everyday lives.

Wearable Research – Tracy Leong

Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears

Practice It Works In

Designed by Neurowear, the Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears consists of a set of motors that are cleverly disguised under the cat ears and move according to the user’s brainwaves (picked up by the sensors on the ears and forehead).

If you’re happy, the ears perk up! If you’re bored or sad, the ears droop downwards. They are immensely popular amongst cosplayers and at comic conventions as they help to bring anime/manga characters to life.

Its Specific Use

The Necomimi Ears are more of a novelty item than a wearable designed to help improve an activity. The ears provide feedback that reflect the emotions going through the user’s mind, so people in the surrounding will know how you’re feeling internally even though your poker face might be amazing.

They have been used in cosplay, dressing up (halloween?) and as entertainment at parties. Interestingly, my high school Psychology teacher once made each of us put on a pair of Necomimi Cat Ears during class and used it as a gauge to monitor our attention levels throughout the lesson. Of course, the person with droopy cat ears often got called upon.


Similar to the design of a pair of headphones, I would consider the Necomimi Cat Ears to be rather mobile as it is lightweight and portable. No electricity is needed and simply pop a AAA battery in and you’re good to go!

Utility versus Fashionability

Although it isn’t clear what the use of this novelty item is, I’d say its utility is in its ability to bring anime/manga/comic characters to life. That being said, it balances both utility and fashion well as the ears are simply cloth covers that can be swapped out for a variety of other colors and designs. Fancy wolf ears instead? Going for a different style? There’s a huge diversity to choose from.

However, the brain sensors that require you to clip onto your left ear and in the middle of the forehead do take away from the overall (slightly tacky) fashion of the item as it breaks the belief of real cat ears.


Practice It Works In

Also designed by Neurowear, Neurocam is a wearable headset that analyzes the brainwaves of the user as they view their surroundings in real life. A value measures how much they “like” or “take interest” in a particular scenery and reflects it on the iPhone attached to the side.

At first glance, this may seem like another novelty item and can be used by anyone. As one article aptly put it, Neurocam lets people around you know how much you hate them.

Its Specific Use

Using the camera at the side, the Neurocam records what the user sees while the brain sensors (in similar fashion to the Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears) transmit the user’s brain waves. The algorithm then reflects how much the user enjoys what they’re seeing on the iPhone display attached on a scale of 1 to 100. Anything more than 60 will be recorded down in five second gifs which the user can playback at the end of their day. These gifs are available for download and can be uploaded to social media. Hence, making it an interesting tool for influencers/content creators to record the ‘highlights’ of their day and post content for their audience.

Another one of Neurocam’s uses is conducting market research to figure out what consumers like and dislike, in order to better develop stores. Additionally, its designers have discussed adding ’emotion tagging’ in the future – which will tag certain emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, happiness) to their respective recordings. Perhaps this could be used to figure out what triggers certain people and to further studies in Psychology.


Again, similar to Necomimi, the Neurocam is lightweight and portable as it’s design follows that of a headphone. The only drawback might be the iPhone attached to the side that will add some weight to the headset.

Utility versus Fashionability

It’s evident that the designers kept to a clean minimalist look with its all white facade and sharp lines – giving it a futuristic vibe. However, it faces the same issue as Necomimi with regard to the obtrusive brain sensors and iPhone. In addition, some users may be deterred in using it if they have to keep a phone pressed up against their head throughout the entire time. 

Nonetheless, it does look like something high-tech and sci-fi, so I think it’s a small win for fashion!