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Health and Wellbeing in the Home

New high-tech innovations can help us manage both our physical and mental health

How Technology Can Support Our Wellbeing at Home

A year of relentless lockdowns, social isolation and financial instability has sparked a second global pandemic of mental health issues that is set to outlive the coronavirus itself. The new trend report, The Future of the Home, produced by Aritco and Springwise, explores some of the latest domestic innovations that can help support our wellbeing in these trying times.

The report includes an app-controlled lightbulb that ensures a good night’s sleep by creating a customised circadian schedule that mimics the light of sunrise and sunset, helping users to fall asleep and wake up naturally.  It also features a new health monitoring system that fits under your mattress and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to track heart rate, breathing and sleeping patterns. With lockdowns severely restricting travel and creative interactions, The Future of the Home report unveils innovations that focus on our mental  wellbeing – virtual travel tours to explore distant lands; an AI music therapy platform that picks tracks to sooth our moods; and an augmented reality tool that helps us visualise paintings, photos, prints and furniture in our homes prior to purchase.

Customised solutions to support wellbeing

With hospitals and medical staff overwhelmed by highly infectious patients, telemedicine, or remote health consultations, have taken centre stage during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, a new generation of digital tools tailored to our individual needs thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning can help us monitor, manage and improve our own physical and mental health from home.

In an International Red Cross survey covering seven countries that was released on World Mental Health Day in October 2020, 51 percent of respondents reported that the coronavirus pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health. This is hardly surprising given the current high levels of uncertainty and change, the loss of jobs and loved ones, plus the added stresses of home-schooling.

Excessive use of electronic media and reduced exposure to sunlight, particularly during the winter months, are disrupting our sleep patterns which are critical for wellbeing. Neurologists have reported a spike in ‘COVID-Somnia’ suffered by people recovering from the virus, those who fear contracting it and those who are feeling the effects of social isolation. Whilst mobile meditation apps can help us fall asleep, new innovative devices can improve the quality of our sleep by monitoring the light levels which govern our circadian rhythms. Fitbits have long been able to track the calories we burn when we exercise, but new devices can now measure our basic bodily functions as we sleep and alert us to possible infection and early signs of other health issues.

Digital tools to stimulate our creativity

With theatres, cinemas and concert halls closed and most planes grounded, we crave the creative stimulation that triggers endorphins and supports our mental health. New technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) cannot replace these stimuli, but they can re-create them. AI can curate playlists tailored to our personal taste to reduce anxiety, VR can take us on virtual adventures beyond our front door, and AR can help us reimagine and redesign our homes as we wait for lockdowns to finally be lifted.

Click here to read more about the high-tech innovations that are using design and technology to support our wellbeing and mental health whilst we are confined to home.

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