Artificial intelligence (AI), as believed by many, has the potential to transform medicine from sick care to predictive or even preventive care; that means individuals’ needs are attended before they address themselves as “patients”. As such, the current AI hype had not only given birth to an overwhelming number of clinical decision support tools, but also applications or gadgets that come with promises to enhance our wellbeing. 

Japanese multinational electronics company Panasonic had recently partnered with LAYER, a design studio founded by the award-winning British designer and entrepreneur, Benjamin Hubert, to come up with six concept products that embody “intersection between home, wellbeing, and technology”. Known as the “Balance of Being”, the collection debut last month at IFA Berlin, the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. 

From skin analysis to smoothies making 

Of which, the hairband-like GROW emits lights of specific wavelength, to understand hair structure; promote blood flows in the scalp and improve conditions for the growth of healthy hair. TONE is a similar-looking product to be put around one’s neck. It would employ steam and LED light treatment to assess the quality of one’s skin and décolletage and then devise a regime to better skin complexion. 

On the other hand, SHOT, which mimics the look of an oversimplified coffee machine, encompasses visual analyses and AI, to produce and dispense a selection of bespoke fruit and vegetable smoothies to improve user’s skin tone and health. The steamer looking LIFT makes use of heat, pressure, and sensor technology, to literally “lift” food to their optimal nutritional level, encouraging healthier cooking and eating within a family. 

The other designs in the collection are WAVE, a smart head massaging tool that maps and evaluates users’ scalp to determine the massaging time, intensity, and method. EASE, a skin-care device that is embedded by the bedside to understand the quality of one’s skin in relation to his or her sleep. It will deliver invisible infrared light and fine steam to elevate one’s skin condition. 

When technology meets lifestyle 

Rowan Williams, Creative Lead of Panasonic’s London design team said, “Balance of Being aims to close this gap between technology and our lifestyles, focusing more on human interaction, comfort, enhancing our lifestyles, and providing truly meaningful experiences with technology allowing us to bond with one another instead of our devices”. 

In fact, the collection was mostly made of ceramic, timber, and textiles so they could be naturally integrated into the household. “All products react and deliver based on the rich living knowledge of you and your family, building a thorough and safe understanding of needs to deliver incredibly personal outputs that bring balance to being,” LAYER added. 

Bringing AI tools to clinical-setting is often challenged by interoperability and developers fail to fully understand clinicians’ workflow. Perhaps, this Panasonic and LAYER collection could inspire those who are keen on creating AI in medicine solutions, to closely look into the cross-section between technology and what is actually going on in the real world. 

As Creative Director of Panasonic Design, Takehiro Ikeda said, “we are curious in how we engage with products and the knowledge that they can build of us and our families. How do we intersect our aspirations of a more natural world with experiences that are technologically enabled?”

Author Bio
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Hazel Tang

A science writer with data background and an interest in the current affair, culture, and arts; a no-med from an (almost) all-med family. Follow on Twitter.