The future may be virtual, but will it be good?

Join us as we highlight innovation and impact driven by virtuality and digital tech.

Be it in the actual or the virtual, Design Indaba’s aim is to foster a better world through creativity. While it is ever the role of dystopic naysayers to alert to the dark side of digital, here, we’d like to salute the positive outcomes that result when we’re uncoupled from our physical bounds.
Presently, we’re in a hyper-accelerated state of virtual usage and interaction. Yet in the not too distant past, a “digital detox” was much vaunted as a solution to the online glut. The reverse has become relevant now – a stream of availability that not only enhances our current living situation, but which has the potential to creatively transform the life we’ll come to know…
Join us as we highlight innovation and impact driven by virtuality and digital tech.


Unless it touches our lives in a way that’s useful, asserts #DI2020 speaker and Google Creative Lab Director Robert Wong, technology is futile. Google is set to introduce a new mobile phone feature that provides live captions – a boon for the hearing impaired. Read more here.



Crunching data and augmenting reality can allow a much-coveted glimpse of the future. Takram has developed Theodolite which visualizes big data associated with geographical information, and at #DI2020, used conscience-pricking AR to illustrate how our daily choices affect global sea levels. Read more here.



Religious leaders have turned to technology to tend to their flocks. Services are streaming live, bible study classes are attended online, religious leaders are gathering en masse via Webinars and connecting with others across the globe - the end of the parochial parish is nigh. Church services in some parts of the world, notably in England, have marked a dramatic upsurge in digital attendance. Holy ghost in the machine? Yes, god is indeed everywhere! 


Out-of-this-world adventure takes the form of virtual tours of other planets in our solar system.

And thanks to the Event Horizon Telescope, we can now do the previously impossible, like see the unseen. We’ve captured images of a Black Hole that is 6,5 billion times more massive than our sun.


The entertainment industry can be credited for pioneering a wide uptake of streaming and pay-on-demand services. Lockdown has shifted Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood entirely into digital debuts that are screened in your very own lounge, eclipsing the traditional “box office” at a movie theatre. You don’t need Takram to see where this trend has already gone. But you can still make the popcorn at home! 


Art has gone digital, too, with practitioners like Olivié Keck playing at the intersection of technology and artistry, and using technology to change human capability.

We can certainly expect a new phalanx of gallery-less works that use virtual reality to deepen the art experience.


The era of the plasma pet was ushered in by the Tamagotchi. Back in 1997, this digital hand-held “companion” prompted a massive global craze that was paralleled by cutesy desktop buddies devoid of stand-alone gizmos. Digital isolation has heralded the return of these kooky yet humanising diversions. An affirming Electric Love Potato, anyone?


What happens when fashion is infused with tech and biodesign? Enter the future face of the clothing industry! Read more here.


This week’s Quarantine Playlist pays homage to the tech-oriented, digitally fabricated Fibrebots of Marcus Kayser and the emotion recognition App developed by visually impaired designer Simon Dogger.


Just as Dogger has contributed to closing the gap for the blind, similarly, Kenyan inventor Roy Allela has found ways to communicate across the sign language barrier by creating Sign-IO, a glove that translates sign language into audio. Talk about a hand-up. Read more here.


Thanks to all the incredible donations received thus far, Design indaba's DO TANK is soldiering on in real time, distributing Bas Timmer’s Shelterbags to the homeless in Cape Town. Please join our mission and play your part in alleviating the plight of the vulnerable - our aim is to assist as many people as we possibly can!