Home Interfaces: The Bathroom

At Launch this year, Yves Béhar was one of the fireside conversations and he was phenomenal. He spoke a lot about design for the home. Béhar emphasized how vital simplicity is when it comes to experience in the home. The reason? Because any interface has to compete with the simplicity of the light switch. This inspired me to start thinking of mobility vs. mobile. I began brainstorming about what sort of interfaces would be useful for me and (hopefully) other people. The idea of interactive mirrors or walls became very appealing to me. It was something that served another purpose but could be called to serve another at a certain given point.

Like most people, most of my morning getting ready in the morning is in the bathroom. This is where I think about things I need to do, ask Siri what the weather is like and figure out what I’m going to wear.

I thought: “What if we could have an interactive mirror in the bathroom that could display useful information as we are getting ready for the day?”

Activation

The first question that I pondered was “How would this mirror be activated?” Going back to the light switch analogy, I had to think about simplicity. It can’t be a screen that needs to be booted up or played over wifi with another device. The light switch already wins. It has to be automatic. Some thoughts:

  • Interface is initiated when a user with a bluetooth enabled device (phone or wearable) enters the bathroom. If there are two people, then the screen interface can split for each person.
  • A smart toothbrush could be installed. When a user removes the toothbrush from the stand, it will identify the person by toothbrush and activate the interface. If possible, the toothbrush would take a saliva sample and display the person’s biometrics on the mirror.
  • Voice activation. This would be a simple thing to calibrate and is a pretty solid way of authentication. From a security perspective I think this method would work because it is not displaying confidential account information and the assumption is the locked door of the house/apartment is still the primary method of security.

Features

Because the use case is a person getting ready for the day, the features of this should be a high level overview—nothing too comprehensive. Some features I came up with are:

  • Weather. You would be surprised how many times I might go into the bathroom to get ready for the day before I even look outside. This interface would display the weather outside and even provide a forecast for the week.
  • The interface would make recommendations of what a person should wear based on the weather. Initially this might be a suggestion of general items, such as “Wear a jacket with a scarf.” If there was some inventory API that has every article of clothing the user owns then it could recommend specific attire.
  • Health metrics would be displayed and the interface can provide recommendations of activities or meals to eat.
  • Display a to-do list (not pictured). This could be plugged into an existing service like OmniFocus.

What are your thoughts? Would you use a product like this? How much would you spend on it if you would buy it? This is the first concept of the mirror and I will continue to iterate on it. I am hoping to design a prototype that can be dropped into After Effects to give you a video demo of what it would be like with someone using it.

  • therealkami

    I would love it! As a busy parent, sometimes the time I spend getting ready in the morning is the only time I have alone. I’m also always running behind so for me to stop, get my phone, look up weather or schedules is too time consuming. Weather, to do, health metrics and even some social media alerts or the ability to read them would be nice. Sometimes I don’t have time to check that before I get to work.

  • Sleep stats? Weight trends? Time since last poop?