Last year, Google’s exhibition ‘Software’ and debut at the Salone del Mobile was all about how to humanize technology and surround Google’s consumer goods with a more tactile experience. This year, in a multi room installation at Spazio Maiocchi, A Space for Being explored the field of neuroaesthetics and how different aesthetic experiences have the potential to impact our biology and well-being asking if aesthetics can be leveraged as treatment.
The multi-room installation served as an exploration of how different aesthetic experiences affect the brain, and though we all know that aesthetics affect our well-being in some way, it was interesting to see how Google measured it.
How would they track it?
With wearable armbands to measure the body’s reactions to the proposed spaces, and use that data to determine which home environments make visitors feel good or not. At the end of the exhibit, guests received a customized report suggesting which space they felt “most comfortable” or “at ease” in based on their real-time physiological responses.
Let’s start with a simple question of what neuroaesthetics are.
According to Ivy Ross, Google’s Vice President for Hardware Design, UX, and Research, with neuroscience now, you can prove the things that designers and artists have always known: that aesthetics – which is not just making things look pretty, but enlivening all the sensory systems through space, color, texture, music and shape – affects our brain, our physiology and our wellbeing. Design affects everything. We are all striving for wellbeing and to be less stressed in our lives. There are choices we can make about the environments we surround ourselves with, which can actually enhance our physiology and put us into a more peaceful state.
To help the armband have enough time to measure data such as heart rate and reactive skin porousness, they are lined up in a sequence of five-minute stays.
I have read several articles from online to printed reviews, the event is more intriguing than it might sound – this is not just another design installation – and I was interested in different points of views.
To understand the importance of the thought behind we should take into consideration two facts. This we know so far:
1// Technology fuses seamlessly into the world around us and the Internet of Things tracks all sort of results.
2// The wellness industry rapidly expands, the impact of our environments on mental and emotional states is increasingly being questioned, explored and solutions are tailor-made.
If you bring these two aspects together, it only make sense to come up yet with another tracking device.
My question however is, until what point can the date provided be truthful after a few days of lining up during the Milan Design Week, having seen much, walked much more than the normal daily dose and when you may not being a 100% receptive at a certain point?
Also, what is the data being used for?
And how can it help to get to results that contribute? Do we really need to track our sense of style and taste?
Now, please see the three rooms, all with different aesthetics to provoke different reactions of course:
The design force behind this undertaken was composed by Google’s Vice President for Hardware Design, UX, and Research, Ivy Ross, Christian Grosen, director of design at Muuto, Design Studio Founder at Reddymade, Suchi Reddy, and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab at Johns Hopkins University, Susan Magsamen.