PSFK Labs looks at how new technology is working to better understand and adapt to our habits.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Tracking For Health report published in January, seven out of ten U.S. adults say they track their weight, diet, or exercise routine for themselves or a loved one. Additionally, 46% of trackers say that this activity has changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone for whom they provide care.
Better data, better habits, and possibly better health, all part of a trend from our Future of Home Living report we’re calling Quantified Living. A wide range of everyday products found in the home are now embedded with sensor technologies to passively capture and track the health and behavioral data of ourselves, our families and even our homes. From Wi-Fi enabled scales and plug and play blood pressure monitors to fitness trackers and even connected home resource managers, these products create unprecedented access to a wealth of information, helping us make smarter decisions about our daily lives.
In conversation with PSFK Labs Mike Milley,Global Director of Samsung’s Lifestyle Research Lab noted, “We are increasingly using data to be smarter about decisions: helping us to meet our goals of being healthier, more economic and more efficient.”
As part of this trend, we have noticed that consumers are looking at a range of sensor-rich products to help them monitor their everyday habits and intake. An example of this trend is the HAPIfork, a Bluetooth-enabled eating utensil that offers real-time data and haptic feedback to emphasize the importance of eating at a moderate pace. Designed by Jacques Lépine and his team in Hong Kong, the fork contains a built-in sensor that vibrates to indicate when a user is eating too fast, while actively collecting data around the pace of consumption which can be accessed through a web or mobile dashboard. Users can even share their data with their friends, a fitness coach, or the wider community.
With the HAPIfork, eaters can get deeper insight into their meals beyond what’s just on the plate. They may learn that they tend to eat their breakfast a bit too fast before they rush out the door to work or that they had few extra servings at dinner the night before, helping people eat healthier, slower meals and consume less.
When we spoke with Lépine about his product, he told us that “Eating slower helps you become more aware of how much you are eating, but it also modifies the way you eat. Food is supposed to be a good thing, almost a ritual in our society, [so] why not take the pleasure to enjoy it slowly? And yes, eating more slowly does help people lose weight – this is proven scientifically.” So even if you decide to order that decadent dessert, you might as well take a moment to savor every bite.
Another example of the Quantified Living trend is myWater, a water monitoring technology that gives homeowners a real-time view of their water usage. The myWater display plugs into any outlet near where water is being used, whether above the sink or near the shower. It has two main screens: one shows how much water has been used that day and the other, how a user is doing relative to people in their area and against their own monthly average. To access information, the product taps into RF signals transmitted by connected home meters, which contain details about current and hourly water use. The product allows homeowners to then compare data their data with similar houses in the area, while also providing a historical view to contribute to better decisions around consumption over time.
Though talks are ongoing and there is a working prototype of the device, the product’s designer, Anthony Jakubiak, doesn’t yet have access to real data from the big metering suppliers. In an interview with Motherboard, he explains that the “Convergence of cultural trends and technology has opened new frontiers for persuasive design to make a difference. There exists a powerful opportunity to create new user experiences that influence behavior change for the greater good, myWater is one step closer to achieving this.” Ultimately, the real-time aspect of the display is its biggest selling point. Rather than trying to get people to drastic change their consumption habits overnight, the device provides a small nudge in the moment, which can influence behaviors over time.
New technologies like the myWater display and HAPIfork fall under the larger theme we’re calling Equilibrium, which points to the way architects and designers are integrating feelings of balance, health, and well-being into people’s living spaces and everyday lives.
PSFK has announced the latest in a series of trend reports. Following studies into retail, social media, gaming, work and mobile, the PSFK Labs consulting team have generated the Future of Home Living report. That report manifests as a free summary presentation, an in-depth downloadable PDF and an exhibition in New York City that runs to August 16.
RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.