We are an aging population. Childhood mortality is decreasing, many serious illnesses have been brought under control, and improved health consciousness has ensured that “good,” or perhaps “better” health starts early and stays with us even longer. The oft-quoted 50+ segment will soon be the majority among many populations – and in a world seemingly dominated by the young, the recognition of and provision for this older segment of society is fast becoming a priority.
In our march to endure the passage of time, we rely on an incredible infrastructure of doctors, consultants, surgeons, advisors, psycho- and physio-therapists – a vast spectrum of professional and alternative practitioners whose work is the preservation of our mental and physical selves. Yet in this rush to surround ourselves with a scaffolding of care, we too often forget the most valuable agent in supporting our mental and physical passage: ourselves.
We all know stories of friends and relatives whose illnesses were diagnosed too late for effective intervention. Why, for most of our lives, do we wait for things to go wrong before we submit to tests and check-ups – procedures that could have identified risks long before they became a problem, if only we had performed them with some regularity?
frog believes we must enable a more responsible approach to self-care that encourages the daily health checks so vital for early disease detection and treatment. The Aura concept brings together the professional, responsitory nature of the Western health care system with the personal, preventative focus of alternative therapies – incorporating high-tech diagnostics right alongside light-, sound-, and aroma-therapy, meditation, and other more traditional tools of self-awareness.
Much of life is composed of daily routine: brushing your teeth, washing your face, preparing your meals. Once learned, such routines can offer more than the practical benefits; they can help people center their lives, providing a small assurance of simplicity within a rapidly changing world. Many cultures have traditional, repetition-based tools with which to meet the uncertainties of the world at large: Zen gardens, calligraphy, yoga massage. All treat the body and soul as one, using physical motion or non-motion to focus the mind. The Aura taps into this tradition in a new way, focusing the mind while examining the body to promote a holistic model of individual health.
First thing in the morning, the user pauses to look into the central component of the Aura, a vessel reminiscent of a Tibetan singing bowl. A camera detects his face; motion-capture systems recognize his expression; and software scans the general color of his skin, his eyeballs, the contraction of the pupils, and the reflectivity of the face. He is prompted to repeat a certain word or hum a particular tune – and as the volume and dynamics of his voice are detected and analyzed for mood, microscopic drops of saliva are captured and examined for bacteria, salinity, and other health indicators.
He then takes the second object in his hands: a semi-soft, sculptural form that gives off gently pulsing lights, colors, sounds, and vibrations as it is touched, encouraging manipulation. The user never needs to be taught what to do with the object, but can interact with it on his own terms. While his skin is in contact with the device, different wavelengths of light and sound pass through his skin: infrared light measures blood flow, ultrasonic rays scan the resistance of his skin tissue, others capture the sound and speed of his heartbeat, the firmness of his grip.
All of this information is combined to give a general sense of the user’s health each morning, which is projected into an “Aura” around the device: a field of color, light, sound, and scent that reflects the user’s mood and informs him of any physical red flags.
All four of the Aura’s dimensions – color, light, sound, and scent – have a proven impact on physical and psychological health, and can be used to alter the user’s mood. The projected Aura changes in tonality, steering the user towards a more positive emotional space.
When the user strokes the edge of the bowl with the third object, a white chime mallet, he sees a projection of images, movies, colors, patterns, and shapes inside the vessel. He can control this media projection by certain gestures of the mallet, choosing images he wants to see. He may choose images that resonate personally: faces that resemble family, places he has visited. The device learns his preferences and reveals additional content that fits his profile, creating an environment that feels familiar and secure – and will have a positive influence on his mood.
By uniting the practices of meditation, therapy, and visualization, the Aura helps our user to feel better.
Because the Aura collects detailed medical information every time the user interacts with the device, health status can be monitored in the long-term and changes identified early. If any serious change is detected, the Aura immediately notifies medical professionals, who will personally call the user and, if necessary, come over to control the medical status.