“Designers of electronic products must begin to think more broadly about the aesthetic role of electronic products in everyday life.” -Anthony Dunne</p>
This week we were asked to read Para-functionality: The Aesthetics of Use, the third chapter of Anthony Dunne's Hertzian Tales and relate the idea of para-functionality to health and health-care innovation. "[Para-functionality] is a form of design where function is used to encourage reflection on how electronic products condition our behavior." So how does the function of current health-care products condition our behavior? The following is a collection of self-care systems which relate to para-functionality that I found noteworthy. ### Cardiio Cardiio turns your iPhone camera into a biosensor. By detecting slight increases in blood volume in a person's face, the app is able to calculate heart rate measurements. It also keeps a log of your tracked BPMs for 30 days. This is a lot easier to do than searching for your pulse and counting. Speaking for myself, I have been using this app for a week now; the first thing I do in the morning is check my heart rate thanks to this app. It's very self-reflective—seeing a healthy reading reinforces a continuation of my current work-out and dietary regimen. ### Isolation Tank An isolation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank inside which subjects float in salt water at skin temperature (Wikipedia). While the idea of entering a chamber to distress might sound dubious to some, I would imagine there are a lot of benefits to temporary removing outside stimuli from the body for meditative practices. Documented benefits include reduction in cortisol and dissolution of lactic acid. ### Kickstarter I'm adding Kickstarter not as a para-functional device, but as a service. The beauty behind crowd-sourcing funding for projects allows you and me, the users, to fund the ideas of the self-care centered products that we find novel and innovative. Funding a project is not a promise that the project will succeed. However, adding our collective voices with our wallets will only have a beneficial impact on the devices we want to use.