Band to the Future

An iconic day has recently passed us by, October 21 2015 – or #FutureDay as it’s become known on Twitter; the date in which Doc and Marty McFly travel to in Back to the Future Part II.

Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis may have missed the mark on several future predictions, however that doesn’t mean we haven’t made leaps and bounds in our technological advances, with access to devices that would have blown Biff and Marty’s minds (I like to think nothing would phase Doc).

Technology Today

One such device is the Microsoft Band 2; this delightful little contraption is a lightweight silicone band, with a 48 hour battery life. It can track your heart rate and daily activities, like; exercise, steps, calories burned, and sleep quality. While improving your productivity with email, text, and calendar notifications. With the available features, and 11 built in sensors – there are many more possibilities.

Here at Matchbox we’ve been quite excited about this new band, and our little brain cogs have been turning thinking about what else we can make the band do. As with many new ideas, the first question is typically, ‘What will make my life easier?’ (in other words ‘How lazy do I want to be?’). In an ideal world perhaps we’d all possess the telekinetic powers of Matilda, however where that isn’t a viable option we aim to create solutions that can still allow us to avoid as little uninteresting manual effort as possible, enabling us to be more productive in other areas.

Crammed with Potential

Amongst our rather eclectic mix of ideas we have focused on band sleep monitoring; options for setting wake up/sleep lighting and music, morning and evening bathroom set up, encouragement to go to sleep when tired (using pulse detection). Floor and room dependent settings; music, lighting, temperature, location dependant doorbell alerts (if upstairs or in the garden). At home; unlock house, deactivate alarm, adjust temperature depending on where you are (pulse and body temp), ventilation (windows etc.) And away from home; lock doors, enable alarm, activate security night lights or radio, and adjust temperature.

Our aim is to take the Band and help it talk to the systems that are already out there, using the built in sensors and controls; including the voice control feature ‘Cortana’. With intelligent devices like the Microsoft Band, it opens up a world of opportunity for connectivity. The Internet of Things is ever growing, and it is an exciting topic to get involved with.

The Future is Fast Approaching

It would be fantastic to implement all the features mentioned above, but even just one section would be marvellous. Band sleep monitoring for example; how splendid would it be if (at a time of your choosing) a nice hot bath was run, you were notified when it was ready, the lights were dimmed and some relaxing music played; allowing you to fully unwind before climbing in to bed. After a good night’s sleep you awake to some well suited music and lighting, and can log onto the app to view a collection of vibrant charts that display your sleep quality.

Sounds an awful lot better than my current system of accidentally running a cold bath, and not having the energy or patience to empty it and try again. Then getting into bed (for the second time, after initially forgetting to switch the lights off) and waking up to the same old alarm, and no knowledge of my sleep quality. Talk about living like a caveman.

There are some exciting ideas in this document, and many more floating around the office. I’m definitely interested to see what we can make happen, and will happily offer myself up as a Guinea pig during the development.