"My practice is really focused on design to improve or save life."

Leah Heiss grew up in a household where experimentation and exploration were encouraged. As a child she learnt to prototype her ideas in the backyard shed before going on to study design at RMIT University, where she now teaches.

Empathy is at the core of Leah’s work. Her human-centered design results in beautiful wearable technologies that improve people’s lives. Her projects have included jewellery to administer insulin through the skin for diabetics, biosignal sensing emergency jewellery, and swallowable devices that detect disease.

Leah didn’t follow a traditional STEM pathway and her work sits at the meeting point of design, health and technology. Working collaboratively is central to her practice and she regularly works with experts from nanotechnology, engineering and health services through to manufacturing.

Leah has most recently designed Facett, the world’s first self-fit modular hearing aid, with Blamey Saunders hears, a company that aims to increase the accessibility
and affordability of hearing aids through innovation. Facett has won many awards, including the 2018 Good Design Award and the 2018 CSIRO Design Innovation Award.