Leah Heiss is a Melbourne-based designer and RMIT University academic working at the nexus of design, health and technology. Her process is deeply collaborative and she works with experts from nanotechnology through to manufacturing. She is dedicated to the idea that design can radically improve the development of wearable health technologies. Her projects include jewellery to administer insulin through the skin for diabetics; biosignal sensing emergency jewellery; and swallowable devices to detect disease. Heiss has an extensive knowledge of next-generation materials and processes and her toolkit contains shape-memory alloys, magnetic liquid, electroluminescent cable and electricity conducting textiles.
Heiss has most recently designed Facett, the world’s first modular hearing aid with profit for purpose company Blamey Saunders hears. The design process for Facett has been acquired into the Museums Victoria heritage collection and is being exhibited at Hong Kong Business of Design Week. Facett won the 2018 Australian Good Design Award, the 2018 CSIRO Design Innovation Award and numerous other awards. Heiss’ design work has been exhibited and presented globally and attracted significant press across all platforms. She teaches human centred design through RMIT’s Masters of Design Futures and the RMIT Interior Design Honours program. Her teaching practice traverses embedded practice in health care and transdisciplinary design focused on health sector innovation.