Dr. Lois Frankel began her career designing and making jewellery. She had no idea how important that would be to her later in the area of wearable computing and product interaction. Moreover, the idea of making exclusive artifacts, more likely destined for safety deposit boxes than bodies, led her to reconsider her career path. She wanted to design things people really needed in their everyday lives and thus earned a Master’s Degree (M.E.Des) in industrial design at the University of Calgary. Shortly afterwards she joined Carleton’s School of Industrial Design as a faculty member and eventually became the first woman Director of the school. Her interest in meaningful design led her to investigate design methods derived from Anthropology, especially the newly emerging field of Sensory Anthropology. She returned to school, focusing on sensory design interactions for wearable computing, completing a Ph.D. at Concordia University, with the support of a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. Lois has design expertise in Interaction Design, Participatory Design, Sensory Design Detailing, and User Experience Design. She is currently the Sensory Design Editor of the Routledge journal, “The Senses and Society”.
She is also the Academic Director of 1125@Carleton where she is exploring possibilities for Carleton University researchers to engage with community partners in research opportunities.
Dr. Frankel is interested in simplifying the relationship between people and their technology-enabled products. Her design research for smart products for the elderly and people with disabilities began in collaboration with the TAFETA (Technology Assisted Friendly Environments for the Third Age) group at the Elisabeth Bruyere Health Centre in Ottawa. Since then, she and her students have conducted research and design for improving people’s practices related to balance, communication, mobility, memory and cognition in areas such as cooking, exercise, shopping, socializing, and general interactions with technology products. Her Ph.D. applied Sensory Anthropology principles in studying impaired older people’s sensory practices with participants at the Churchill Seniors’ Centre in Ottawa. This led to a set of sensory insights for designers for developing assistive technologies for fitness for older adults. Her understanding of people’s sensory practices and perceptions in their everyday experiences influenced the course content of the Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) course: IDES2205 Sensory Aspects of Design. This course shifts the predominantly visual orientation designers place on form development by investigating and deconstructing the multi-sensory qualities of everyday products.