Skip to main content

Need to weigh yourself? ‘Empathic technology’ may soon let you do it on a rug

The modern smart home operates on accessories. You set up an air purifier for cleaner airor you wear a Fitbit to track your heart rate and other vital statistics. Imagine if that wasn’t necessary. Imagine, for a moment, that your rug could tell you your weight, your BMI, and more. Imagine if your window automatically filtered the air and also blocked out noise, resulting in a quieter home.

That’s the vision behind NewTerritory, a design studio that seeks to make a home truly smart by blending these accessories into the very design of the house itself, rather than as included accessories. It does this through a concept known as Empathic Technology, which focuses on three main ideas.

The Connect concept makes use of a central connective router tray with features like an omnidirectional speaker and a Wi-Fi booster to provide a better connection throughout the home and streamline communication between those who live there.

The Sense concept uses monitoring devices like a smart switch, a pendant, and a surface — like a rug — to track inhabitants through touch, sound, and visual references. The Enhance concept reacts to the gathered data. An example is the smart window frame, which enables active noise cancelling when sound levels outside the home become too great.

Person standing on top of NewTerritory smart rug concept for the smart home.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While a lot of these are buzzwords, the products themselves are integrated into the home in clever ways. The “surface” technology looks like a rug that would cover the floor in front of a bathroom or kitchen sink. These different products and devices are able to provide high levels of functionality while simultaneously avoiding the look of “smart” devices. The window frame looks like a standard, wood-paneled frame. It fits right into the aesthetic of a modern home and masks its functionality.

All of the information gathered through NewTerritory’s technology is presented in a clean UI that shows where each member of the family is at any given time. It also allows you to view the information it has picked up about you, like your heart rate, posture, body temperature, and more.

This level of smart home technology is a good example of how convergence remains the key to the smart home. By making smart technology a literal part of the home, it becomes more streamlined and easier to access instead of something that must be added in as an afterthought.

Editors' Recommendations

Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
What is a pressure cooker, and how do you use it?
Instant Pot Duo Plus on a kitchen countertop surrounded by food.

While pressure cookers may look intimidating, many of today's greatest pressure cookers are remarkably simple to operate. You can whip up some amazing entrees like curry and pot roast, whether you're cooking overnight or leaving them to simmer while you're at work. In this breakdown, we take a look at the fundamentals of pressure cooking, covering the device basics, and offering a few cooking suggestions of our own.
What is a pressure cooker?

A pressure cooker is an airtight cooking device that cooks food quickly, thanks to the steam pressure that builds up inside. The steam makes the food moist, which is why this device is perfect for meat stews, cheesecakes, and much more. There are stovetop pressure cookers that use the heat of the stove, as well as countertop units that you plug into a wall outlet. Many plug-in pressure cookers boast other features and functions, like slow cooking, steaming, and sautéing in addition to pressure cooking.
How do I use a pressure cooker?
Getting to know your pressure cooker for the first time? Try pressure cooking with just water -- this is called a water test, and it will help you get to know your machine better. All you have to do is add one or two cups of water into the pot (always use the inner pot, and never put food directly into the cooker without this pot for safety reasons). Lock the lid into position, and make sure to adjust the valve so that it is in the sealed position.

Read more
Do you need a smart toothbrush?
Oral-B iO Series 9 Smart Toothbrush in hand

When will we come to a time when every accessory in our home is smart? Is there a limit to what should actually be smart? Let's talk about a category that may not be what you traditionally think of as a smart device -- the toothbrush.

I'm all for having smarter health products and having the best technology in our hygiene products (like bidets), but I've not put a lot of thought into how, or why, my toothbrush is smart. It's time to dive in and see if it's even worth it.

Read more
Why you need a smart carbon monoxide detector over a traditional one
Nest Protect

The changing of the seasons means it's time to turn on the heat. Autumn and winter bring with them the promise of hot chocolate, cozy nights around the fireplace, and your annual Christmas movie binge watch. But there's a potential threat also lurks: Carbon monoxide.

Although carbon monoxide is a threat year-round, it's more common in the cooler months due to people turning on their furnaces, boilers, and gas and wood-burning fireplaces. Carbon monoxide is the result of an incomplete combustion; in other words, if something doesn't fully burn (and by "fully," we mean a complete chemical reaction), carbon monoxide can be produced.

Read more