SEIL Bag :: Interview with Lee Myung Su
These days, the power of the peddle is where it’s at. More and more people are throwing off the shackles of automobile travel and sliding on bike helmets and skin-tight spandex. But with the ever-increasing surge of cyclists carving up the streets, there’s greater demand for safety gear. And that’s where Korean-based inventor Lee Myung Su and his Leemyungsu Design Lab come in.
He’s developed something that not only ticks the safety box but also latches it, in an ingenious way, to carry. Meet the SEIL Bag (Safe. Enjoy. Interact. Light). A carry piece that’s got your back in more ways than one. We spoke to Lee and talked about his SEIL, his plans and the potential fusion of tech and carry…
You’ve designed a product that basically protects bike riders at night, do you ride yourself?
Yes, I often use my bike but I prefer the bicycle lane rather than the general road.
And what was your bike carry of choice before the SEIL came along?
I used to carry a generic backpack or hip sack. As far as other cary, I carry a wallet and a smartphone when I ride a bike.
Why is the SEIL bag important? Who needs this product?
The primary objective of SEIL bag design is protecting a bike rider from a car accident. The safe communication between rider and driver is very important and if we can make it a fashion item, even better.
Can you explain some of the technology behind the SEIL?
The SEIL bag is designed and developed by using wearable computing-based information and communication technology. The SEIL bag is composed of a detachable wireless controller and LED display which is built into the backpack.
Bluetooth technology connects the controller to the backpack. Furthermore, users can make any text or images they want through their smartphone app and transmit data to their LED display. Whenever their smartphone app is running, the user can make changes to the screen content in real time. The SEIL bag gives you a safe riding experience while also allowing you to communicate with other riders for fun.
What key insights drive your inventions?
I was majoring in industrial design and over the past 10 years I’ve designed wearable computing technologies. In the meantime, I began to wonder about the future lifestyle and shape of our world.
The vision of the future I predicted was of a highly advanced society with ‘convergence design’. What I’m talking about when I say ‘convergence design’ is the fusion of ideas of an oriental Zen combined with IT. Perhaps this thought might also be influenced by the Renaissance era. At that time, to explore the nature of humanity and the humanities had been accomplished with the development of science.
My insight can be called the passage to finding something for mankind. This idea starts from researching and exploring the nature of people and their act itself.
You mentioned the fusion of style and technology in your Kickstarter clip, is that something that’s important to you? Why so?
As I mentioned earlier, I predicted a convergence of fashion goods with IT as a good design practice. The meaning of the fusion of style that I mentioned on Kickstarter will head in the direction of wearable computing technology. This means harmony of technology, design and the human being.
Is wearable IT just the inevitable future?
All the technology that we’ve developed is selected by the needs of the user. This is an answer. I think that the wearable computing technology would even be very useful to a person with a handicap. And all human beings eventually weaken physically. I’m expecting that the development of the wearable computing technology could help every human being somehow.
Do you think carry and tech will ultimately combine?
Perhaps not. It would be expected to develop optionally.
Will there ever be a backlash against tech integrating into every aspect of our lives? An anti-tech revolution I guess you could call it…
I respect all the civilizations in history. However, I think that the concept of a mother nature is higher value than human civilization. And we could say that nature is the true masterpiece of creation, more valuable than any other works of art made by human beings.
Everything in nature has its own reason to exist, and that reason to exist has been permeated to every existence naturally. This naturalness of reason to exist is the one that does not change the sense of the beautiful natural heritage that makes every aspect of our life worthwhile.
However, I believe that the significance of the existence of technology is the same as the above too. Technology is not a magic trick, it is just one of the points that you can select for multiple elements in life. The meaning of these choices is intended to make life more enriching. My work is not pursuing a technical integration. The key point of my work is to help people. And through a blend of technology and design, I wish to develop our human civilization a little bit better.
Unfortunately, SEIL didn’t reach its 80K Kickstarter goal. What’s Plan B? How’s the project progressing?
After announcing the SEIL bag on Kickstarter, I made my own organization with some friends who have led the trend in the IT industry and media market in Korea over the years. We plan to progress mass production through investment from Korean venture capital. In the second half of this year, you will be able to see the upgraded SEIL bag.
Do you have any other products in the works? What’s next for you?
I have two plans. First, SEIL wearable systems will come in various shapes through the variety of design and IT technology. Second, there is an innovative design product that will be announced in 2015. This product has already secured a design patent. Although, this product is not a wearable IT product. It is a portable (carry) product.