Would you like a virtual GP in your bathroom?
It may not be as far away as you think. Last week, we launched the Consumers in 2030 report in partnership with Which? magazine. The project was designed to spark debate about the changing needs of UK consumers in the 21st century as we adapt to some of the mega trends and big challenges coming our way.
The project asked the question: what might UK consumers need in 2030? And as part of our exploration we’ve developed five ‘artefacts’ to help us to think about and creatively explore the issues raised. The stimulus we used included home life mega trends, Which? consumer principles, economic projections and future scenarios.
Over the next five weeks we’ll be sharing each of the five artefacts – and the first is Bathroom GP.
Bathroom GP is a product-service bundle that works as your personalised doctor as you use your bathroom. It discretely takes biological readings, checks genetic and clinic history and screens for illnesses. For instance, it checks your kidney function, glucose levels, digestive health and the presence of viruses, and then suggests changes you might make in order to stay healthy.
The data gatherers of the bundle are Dr Loo and Dr Sink, which take biological readings and screen for illnesses. This information is sent to a microchip that’s embedded in a wristband or in the body where it is analysed against medical history and DNA patterns. Another part of the bundle is Dr Mirror, which reflects how you look on the inside, as well as on the outside. Positioned in your bathroom, it displays the analysis – as you’re shaving or putting on your make-up – according to your chosen settings, and the interface is connected to your mobile phone. You can control when, what and where you see all the information – you could even check your results on the train on the way to work.
So what do you do with all this information? One option could be to subscribe to a service that sends dietary recommendations to your digital shopping list – helping you plan meals based on the nutrients you need.
Where did Dr Mirror come from? The trends driving this include lower incomes, rising health costs and rising retirement ages. These issues bring to surface many questions about how we will maintain a healthy lifestyle in older age. How might we empower people to stay healthy and how will they afford healthcare when they need it?
Another challenge is how to close the gap between high and low incomes to health. How might we enable poorer communities to get access to latest health tech?
And the future is already here – in what we call ‘weak signals’. Different technologies are available now which when combined could build Bathroom GP. We found a chip that can analyse your DNA, so you don’t need a big laboratory, a device that smells cancer on your breath, and advances in miniaturisation that would allow a thumb-drive sized chip to take a sample of blood, saliva, or urine and pass the information on to the mobile device for processing.
We don’t know what the future looks like, but exploring these imaginary artefacts can help us to think about and build the future that we want. We’d love to hear your comments and ideas about Bathroom GP and the other four artefacts which we’ll be posting here on the blog in the next four weeks.
Click here to join our webinar with Which? Consumer Insight on 21st February to uncover the research, the findings, the five concepts and how your organisation can use them.
For more information:
- Download the Which? Consumers in 2030 report
- Access resources to further explore the Bathroom GP
Read the other blogs in the Which? Series:
- Read and subscribe to our weak signals blog feed here