Urban Safety Kit nominated for Social Design Talent Award

Sheltersuit, a water repellent and windproof suit with a removable sleeping bag for refugees and the homeless, has been transformed into an “Urban Safety Kit” using electronics. The Urban Safety Kit is a high-tech solution that protects refugees and homeless from hypothermia and saves solar energy in a power bank. The kit has been nominated for the Social Design Talent Award 2018, the prize that the Municipality of Eindhoven awards during the Dutch Design Week to young talents designing solutions for social challenges.

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In short

  • Challenges: recognising hypothermia and access to energy
  • High-tech solution that protects refugees and homeless from hypothermia and saves solar energy in a power bank

Global Goal

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Access to energy and preventing hypothermia

The Urban Safety Kit is a technology-driven combination of the Sheltersuit and a bag, providing a solution to two challenges that refugees and homeless face. The first is access to energy: with the integrated solar panels in the bag the user can save solar energy in a power bank, enabling them to charge their electrical devices. The second challenge is recognising hypothermia. Sensors in the suit detect shivers and communicate this to the bag, where an alarm signal is triggered. As a result, people in the environment become aware of the critical situation, making them either help or notify emergency services.

Hightech with social impact

The Urban Safety Kit has been developed by Jurrie Barkel from the Sheltersuit Foundation and Edo the Wolf from the DesignLab at University of Twente. Both are located in Twente. DesignLab’s mission is executing high-tech projects with social impact. Sheltersuit has strong interests to find ways to add value to their target groups. The parties’ missions are united in the development of the Urban Safety Kit, funded by WEAR Sustain and the EU Horizon 2020 project. 



Prototype in Living Lab in Barcelona

DesignLab is responsible for the design of the electronics and the bag. Sheltersuit produces the bag and integrates the developed technology. Both parties closely collaborated throughout the process, from concept to production. The project started in April 2018 and will end in November 2018. Currently, at a living lab in Barcelona, prototypes are tested in a user experience study among a few homeless people. Feedback is considered in the further development of the product.