As we reach another month of shelter-in-place, it’s difficult not to imagine the world post-COVID-19. Wearing masks or gloves in public, standing six feet apart, and limiting the number of guests in restaurants have become the new norm. In our Designing For the Future: Part One blog post, we covered the idea of using VR and robotics in service stations so that small, non-essential businesses, such as barbers or other cosmetology workers can work in the comfort of their own homes. This week, we’d like to focus more on the “germaphobe” aspect of things and think of ways we can problem-solve for the one thing that gets the most touches in a given day: elevator buttons.
We’ve seen hotels start to implement a minor change with elevators by allowing guests to scan room cards before selecting their floor; however, they are still required to push a button. We have also seen keychains doubled as door openers for use without needing to touch door handles. While these products are a great step forward, we believe that there are even better ways to take these ideas further for future purposes.
Think of Tony Stark’s “EDITH” sunglasses from Marvel films (or pretty much any Tony Stark original product). For those who are unaware, EDITH frames have the power to control a system that houses weaponized drones. Because EDITH runs on vocal recognition, Tony can gain full control of the entire system simply through speaking–similar to our Amazon Alexas or Siris. With this in mind, is there a way we can find inspiration from these brilliant ideas we see in films and transform them into real-life products? Of course, it doesn’t have to be to that extent, but we are thinking in terms of ways we can innovate wearables.
Innovating Wearables: The Future
With our ring concept shown in the storyboard below, the idea is to innovate everyday wearables in such a way to where we no longer have to physically touch buttons on elevators or bank kiosks. Keeping the idea of those scanners hotels use now, imagine each button being scannable. All you’d need to do is simply scan the ring to complete these minor, physical tasks. The ring would also feature a UV light that can self-sanitize, so no need to worry about catching germs. If we were to use this for banking purposes, the ring would have the infrastructure of currency technology built-in.
We understand this concept may pose many questions or concerns, but that’s what concept ideas are supposed to do. As designers, we need to play devil’s advocate for our own ideas at times to fully understand and empathize with end-users. For example, what happens if someone forgets or loses their ring? UV light can be dangerous in close-contact with skin, so is there a way the self-sanitize feature can be turned on/off? We would like to hear your opinions, and challenge fellow designers to take our idea even further. Feel free to comment on our idea or ask any questions you have below!