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Published: 22 May 2018

INBair O2: Brain-Boosting Air Purifier

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INBair O2

British air purification tech company Radic8 has designed a portable oxygen purifier, called INBair O2. The device could help office workers reduce feelings of drowsiness in the middle of the day and boost their productivity just by inhaling oxygen.

The book-sized device processes air, purifies it and then delivers it through an inhaler that resembles a headset. It's designed to be an easy-to-use, inconspicuous product for people who would like to use it in their workplace.

Radic8 claims that the percentage of oxygen in offices drops from 21% to 17% as the day passes and more carbon dioxide is produced, which explains why people feel sleepy in the middle of the day. Instead of drinking coffee or eating something sweet, using INBair O2 for 30 minutes is meant to give users a brain boost that will increase their productivity and make them feel brighter.

Priced at $455, the product is available for pre-order from the company's Indiegogo page. It's expected to ship in July 2018.

As concerns over air pollution grow, the size of the residential air purifier market worldwide is expected to reach 21 million units by 2021 (Statista, 2018). INBair O2 is tapping into this trend, as well as the rising interest in maximising personal productivity, by claiming that "pure oxygen enters your bloodstream through your lungs and goes straight to the brain". See also Career Pioneers.

For more on the devices that are helping us to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, see Wearable Technology Show 2018 and Increased Wellbeing: Personal Air Purifiers.

Published: 17 May 2018

Vodka Brand Launches Clean-Air Bar

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Clean Air Bar

Dutch vodka brand Ketel One has teamed up with London bar No 29 Power Station West to launch the city's first clean-air bar. The space was designed to help Londoners escape from city pollution, and learn how house plants can improve living standards.

The bar is filled with plants that Nasa has found to be effective at removing toxins from the air, including aloe vera, weeping fig, rubber plants and Boston fern. All plants have been supplied by local London urban farm Patch.

Customers can choose from a range of Ketel One cocktails, with ingredients such as basil, mint and rosemary picked from a "living garnish wall". They can also customise the drinks to suit their tastes.

Meanwhile, food comes courtesy of UK chef duo Billy and Jack. Dishes are made from locally sourced sustainable ingredients, such as vodka-cured sea trout with smoked mayo and house pickles, and lamb skewers with labneh, dukkah, spiced date sauce, charred spring onion and spring leaves.

The bar will also host two urban gardening workshops by Patch in late May.

This is the latest example of brands catering for urban-dwelling consumers who are concerned about rising levels of pollution. See New Architecture of Taste (part of our latest Industry Trend The Future of Flavour), Pollution-Fighting Health Drink and Pollution Protection Update: New Formats & Formulas for further case studies.

Published: 17 May 2018

Marram Co: Mood-Enhancing Shaving Creams

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Marram Co

British men’s grooming brand Marram Co focuses on scent and its influence on mood as the prime marketing message for its new shaving creams.

The eight shaving creams in Marram Co’s inaugural collection all use different notes to alter the user’s state of mind in different ways. For instance, Time Out is aimed at men looking to unwind. It claims to reduce stress while cleansing, detoxifying and brightening tired skin. The brand harnesses the sensory properties of essential oils, using ingredients such as basil, thyme and cardamom to enhance relaxation.

Essential oils are a growing market, forecast to reach $12.85bn globally by 2025 (Statistics MRC, 2017). We believe aromatherapy is a key area for brands to explore, as consumers look to improve their mood and mental state with scent. Another good example is American tween start-up Scent Republik, which uses vanilla and mandarin in its Fab! fragrance to boost feelings of empowerment.

With each of Marram Co’s shaving creams evoking a distinct olfactory experience, consumers are encouraged to experiment with the scents depending on their mood. For more on this idea, see The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes and St Giles: Personality-Enhancing Perfume

With a tagline of “bringing pleasure to shaving”, the brand operates on a subscription basis. Each kit, containing a shaving cream of choice, is delivered every four, six or eight weeks, depending on how frequently the recipient shaves and uses up the product. For more on this concept, see Luxurifying Personal Hygiene.

Published: 16 May 2018

Medly, NYC: Painless Pharmacy Retail

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US prescription app Medly's first brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, NYC, aims to entice time-strapped New Yorkers with omnichannel retailing in a calm and relaxing setting.

Launched in 2017, the brand has already been redefining the traditional pharmacy retail experience (long queues, unpredictable inventory, rushed service, lack of personalisation) with its app. Users can manage and fill prescriptions without leaving home, pick the packaging of their choice, and have their order delivered the same day anywhere in the city. This additional physical touchpoint now enables them to collect prescriptions in-store, and book face-to-face consultations with pharmacists.

Challenging the often anonymous and uninviting aesthetic associated with pharmacy design, the 1,900 sq ft space boasts a visually distinctive pale aqua interior, featuring geometric pill-shape-patterned flooring and minimalist display shelving – all designed by NYC interiors firm Sergio Mannino Studio.

Dark green leather chairs (inspired by 80s Japanese designer Shira Kuramata) are positioned in the middle of the store, inviting users to relax and socialise while waiting for their orders to be fulfilled behind a marble countertop.

For more on premium chemists and the latest strategies in pharmacy retail, see Medi-Leisure: Modernising the Pharmacy. See also Colour Direction: Evolving Green.

Published: 14 May 2018

Sleep Tech Boosts Creativity

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Dormio helps users augment their creativity while they sleep

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have invented a glove-like device called Dormio that helps users augment their creativity while they sleep.

Before falling asleep completely, humans go through an intermediate state between wakefulness and sleep called hypnagogia. While in this hypnagogic state, people lose the frontal function of their brains, which means they lose their sense of time and space and their thoughts become intuitive and hyper-associative. During this state, human creativity is unleashed, as it's not constrained by the logic and rules of waking life.

According to Dormio's website, artists and scientists such as Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Salvador Dali have taken advantage of the creativity offered during hypnagogia by holding a steel ball that would fall when they fell asleep – waking them up and allowing them to write down the ideas generated during this semi-lucid state.

Dormio modernises this technique, but instead of waking up the user, it simply prevents them from falling asleep completely. Sensors in the glove-like device track the user's hypnagogic state by measuring heart rate and muscle tone. When Dormio senses the user is transitioning into the deeper stages of sleep, its accompanying app emits sounds via the user's smartphone. This way, it suspends the user in an extended hypnagogic state, allowing them to access their subconscious for longer.

The device's creators plan to upgrade the device so that it can influence the content of the user's dreams and extract information from them, potentially enabling people to interact with their subconscious. See also Shadow Selves: Tapping Consumers' Dark Sides.

Published: 11 May 2018

BrewDog Launches Cycle Club

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Brewdog

Scottish craft beer brand BrewDog has launched its own global cycle clubs through San Francisco-based fitness app Strava.

Dubbed the BrewDog Chain Gang, cycling and beer enthusiasts around the world can join rides operating from their local BrewDog bar or affiliated pub, with the Strava app acting as an information hub for the times and locations of upcoming events.

Alongside this, the craft beer company has collaborated with London-based cycling apparel brand Milltag to create a line of BrewDog-branded cycling clothing and kit, including jerseys, bottles and jackets.

According to BrewDog's co-founder James Watt: "There has always been a natural crossover between craft beer fans and cycling fans. Both are driven by a passion for exploration, discovering the road less travelled, and are powered by hugely passionate communities. With BrewDog Chain Gang, we wanted to turn it up a gear by helping our community unite their two passions of beer and bikes."

This is a key example of how big brands are tapping into the active space to access cult communities, as discussed in our latest Macro Trend report 360 Sports Nutrition.

See also Protest Beer for Climate Change and Epicurean Escapism: The Foodie Traveller Opportunity for more on how BrewDog is extending its offering. See Brand Stretch: Elastic Food & Drink Development for a look at how brands are expanding beyond their original product and service remit.

Published: 9 May 2018

AR Urban Exploration Race

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District participants navigate checkpoints by following the race's app on their phone

Asian sports events consultancy Exceed and Australian experiential agency Lightweave have organised District – an urban exploration race that combines augmented reality (AR) and location-based technologies.

The District race has no set route or distance, but participants have only two hours to navigate through 80 checkpoints and challenges – this time spread around Hong Kong's eight districts. Each district will have challenges themed according to its unique character in order to help participants discover the city and learn about each area.

Runners have to use the accompanying app that will follow their location, guide them to checkpoints and reveal the challenges they need to complete, such as a quiz that tests players' knowledge of the neighbourhood, or running round the block in under a minute. Points are awarded whenever a racer reaches their destination and when they complete a challenge, and increase based on their distance from the race's starting point.

The app offers a gamified experience, as players can keep track of their ranking by checking the live leader board and become further motivated by competing against their friends. Those who complete the race receive an AR-enabled finisher medal.

The first District race took place in Singapore on March 3 and the Hong Kong race is scheduled for May 13, costing HK$450 ($57) to participate. The organisers expect to launch the race in the US, Australia and Europe later this year.

For more on consumers' desire for urban adventures and extreme experiences, see our Active Lives Macro Trend.

Published: 3 May 2018

Tooth-Mounted Diet Tracker

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Tufts University, Massachusetts

Researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts have developed a tooth-mounted sensor that tracks everything you eat from inside your mouth.

The wireless sensor monitors data on the amount of sugar, salt and alcohol consumed and how the body reacts to it, which is then transmitted to an app on the wearer's phone.

The sensor is made up of two layers of gold. Sandwiched in between are biosensors that can pick up on physiological cues such as PH and glucose levels, and other biomarkers found in saliva. The gold acts as an antenna to relay the information.

According to researcher and project leader Fiorenzo Omenetto, the sensor can be implemented both in a medical context and by conscientious consumers seeking to monitor their own health.

"Sampling and monitoring changes in the oral cavity could help in a number of ways – from monitoring dental health, to monitoring physiological states such as fatigue, through saliva sampling," said Omenetto. "Obviously, the latter applications require device refinements in terms of sensitivity and specificity."

This is the latest in a series of developments targeting an increasingly discerning consumer base hungry for ways to monitor and track their own wellbeing, and ensure they are eating in the most healthiest and hyper-personalised ways possible. See New Food Covetables for an in-depth look into this consumer shift.

See also Ingestible Gut-Health Sensors, Highlights: Food Loves Tech and Ultra-Thin Wearable Monitors Health for further examples.

Published: 3 May 2018

Active Fun: AR Run App Encourages Shopping

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OV Trail Shop

US athletic wear brand Outdoor Voices’ augmented reality (AR) shopping app experience promoted a spirit of outdoor adventure among its customers. The digital initiative, which used the same technology as Pokémon Go, encouraged consumers to run or walk along outdoor trails in order to purchase running shoes and apparel ahead of their official release.

The activation celebrated the brand’s first running collection and was available for one day only (April 24) – a day before the collection’s launch. Consumers downloaded the branded OV Trail Shop app and headed outside to purchase all nine products. Using GPS data, the app notified runners of nearby trails activated for the experience, guiding them there via an interactive map.

Products appeared on users’ mobile phone cameras along the way. Consumers could walk towards the products, check out technical details including seams, textures and finishes, and purchase them via Apple Pay. The campaign featured 50 AR shops across the US, including three trails in New York.

The app encouraged customers to experience unfamiliar places in their home cities while having fun and even shopping – an effective combination with potential for many retailers. See Active Lives: Retail’s Spirit for Adventure and Fuelling Fast-Paced Lifestyles.

See also Immersive Nike x Tom Sachs Promo Makes Fans Earn Sneakers.

Published: 30 Apr 2018

We’re feeling suitably lively as spring emerges, (however sporadically). Over the last few months, our team has been energetically creating our new Macro Trend: Active Lives – which we’re excited to publish tomorrow.

We’ve long been charting the growth of brands in the active landscape, but now a greater consumer need for adventure, experience and challenge teamed with new technologies is driving bold engagement strategies, and we’re seeing a real acceleration of commercial product innovation.

The result? There are now more ways than ever to feel alive. Here are five that caught my eye from our research.

Go extreme

High-octane, high-risk extreme sports are on the up. There were 648 Mount Everest summits in 2017, compared to 72 in 1990. The next Olympics will feature skateboarding, climbing and surfing for the first time. But you don’t have to take risks to go extreme. Virtual reality (VR) means it’s now possible to go downhill skiing without leaving your home. You can even feel the wind against your face and the snow underfoot thanks to haptic feedback.

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Buildering, Next Level

Learn to fly

VR is changing the way we work out by immersing us in wildly entertaining virtual environments. Icaros, a gyroscopic, floor-mounted home trainer, suspends you in mid-air while you exercise, giving you the sensation of flying. The machine pairs with the Icarace VR flying game to let Icaros users around the world race against each other in real time.

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Expand your mind

Active-minded consumers want to be in the know, and brands are responding by giving them insider access. As part of its 2018 Winter Olympics coverage, The New York Times delivered an augmented reality campaign starring four athletes – each of whom performed their signature move in the user’s surroundings. Because these came with explanations, users also learned how to pull off figure-skating jumps and snowboarding halfpipe flips.

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Adidas, The New York Times

Embrace e-sports

The rise of global e-sports is phenomenal. With developments like the US’s first e-sports stadium set to open in Arlington, Texas later this year, it will soon become as powerful as primetime sports like soccer. Meanwhile, new technology is creating sports that didn’t exist a few years ago, like drone racing – which is also proving hugely popular. The inaugural world championship in 2017 attracted a global TV audience of 55 million (with 100 million more watching online).

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E-Sports Arena Populous, ReNu portable recovery system

Compress your rest

More of us are using tech to maximise our quality of sleep. We noticed one intriguing example at this year’s CES: NuCalm’s ReNu portable recovery system. Users lie down while wearing an eye mask and headphones that play neuro-acoustic tracks. They also chew amino acid tablets to counteract adrenaline, and use neck pads that stimulate the brain and body with a micro current. Twenty minutes of ReNu sleep is said to equate to two hours of standard rest.

 We’ll be bringing to life highlights from Active Lives at our inaugural ‘Stylus presents Decoded Future’ event on June 26, which will be a fantastic opportunity to discover what these insights mean for your business. This will sit alongside expert sessions exploring the next level of emotional brand experiences and the virtual future of lifestyle. For tickets, please speak with your client services manager.

Have a great month,

Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer

Published: 23 Apr 2018

Ikea Predicts The Future of Fast Food

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Ikea/Space10

Ikea's research and innovation lab Space10 has devised a menu of five fast-food dishes that tackle issues surrounding the predicted world food crisis, focusing on waste, obesity and scarcity.

Still at concept stage, the menu includes The Dogless Hotdog, made with dried and glazed baby carrots, beet and berry ketchup, mustard and turmeric cream, roasted onions, cucumber and a herb salad mix in a high-protein spirulina bun. Meanwhile, the Bug Burger patty is made from beetroot, parsnip, potatoes and mealworms and comes on a white-flour bun with relish, beetroot and blackcurrant ketchup, chive spread, and a hydroponic salad mix.

Also on the menu are meatballs made from mealworms and root vegetables, a hydroponically grown salad served with day-old bread to minimise food waste, and an ice cream made with microgreens such as mint and sorrel to create a frozen treat that is low in sugar and calories.

For more on how brands are developing alternative products that play to the issues surrounding population growth and the environment, see Feeding Tomorrow's Consumers and Culinary Consciousness.

See also Creating Shared Value: Sustainability Marketing, Packaging Futures: Sustainability and Retail: Reframing Sustainability for more on how brands are targeting environmental issues in a wider context.

In June, Carla Cammilla Hjort, Founder & Director of Space10 will be joining us at our upcoming London Summit, Decoded Future. To hear what she has to say on how to design agile eco-systems for the digital world, book your tickets, click here.

Published: 23 Apr 2018

App Helps Children Manage Emotions

Mobile games from US-based company Neuromotion Labs are teaching children emotional management skills using just a smartphone and a heart-rate monitor. The Mightier app encourages kids to learn deep-breathing exercises when their heart rate rises during gaming, helping them understand the correlation between frustration and heart rate.

Children strap a heart-rate monitor that's paired with an iPhone onto their wrist and choose a game to play from the Mightier platform. As they play the difficulty increases, which pushes their heart rate up. If their heart rate reaches the 'red zone', the game pauses and an animation runs, which encourages the child to take part in a deep-breathing, calming exercise to lower their heart rate.

The platform was built for children between the ages of six and 14 who are struggling to self-regulate their emotions. It's particularly useful for those with challenging behaviours, oppositional disorder, ADHD and autism.

"We have clinical research that shows that intentionally calming yourself down in the moment is extremely effective in exercising your parasympathetic nervous system and strengthening your emotional regulation," says co-founder Trevor Stricker. Research carried out by Mightier revealed that 45 minutes a week of play reduced outbursts from children by 62% and decreased oppositional behaviours by 40%.

Parents can pay three monthly instalments of $89 for the Mightier starter kit, or a one-off payment of $249. The kit includes access to the app and an online members' hub, expert parent support and a heart-rate monitor.

For more insights into Gen Alpha (aged nought to eight), see Gen Alpha: Raising the Superkids.

Published: 19 Apr 2018

Cooper Hewitt Explores Inclusive Sensory Design

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Tactile Orchestra

New York’s Cooper Hewitt museum is hosting The Senses: Design Beyond Vision, which explores how design impacts an individual’s ability to receive sensory information. Visitors can interact with more than 40 objects and 65 conceptual projects – many of which address conditions such as dementia and blindness. 

  • Colour Palate: New York designer Emilie Baltz’s screen-based installation explores the dynamic between food colour and palatability. Visitors use a series of levers to manipulate the appearance of products like ice cream and soda. Similarly, prismatic chocolate bars from LA chocolatier Compartés illustrate the relationship between colour and appetite. For more on food design that stimulates the senses, see Crafting Craveability in our Industry Trend The Future of Flavour.
  • Tactile Materials: Several installations probe the interplay between the senses. For Tactile Orchestra, a collaboration between design firm Studio Roos Meerman and social innovation incubator KunstLab (both Dutch), visitors trigger musical sounds by stroking a furry wall. Meanwhile, an immersive fragrance pod from American perfumer Christopher Brosius imbues plush pom-poms with an aroma intended to evoke winter. For more on tactile design, see our A/W 19/20 Design Direction Captivate.

  • Inclusive Tools: An auditory map from Washington DC’s Smithsonian museums demonstrates how technology can ease everyday life for those with sensory impediments, while London designer Simon Kinneir’s chopping board features indentations to help people with sight loss prepare food. See Design for Disability for more inclusive innovations.

The exhibit complements the museum’s current show Access + Ability (see our blog post) and runs until October 28 2018.

Published: 17 Apr 2018

Milèo New York: Skincare for Wellbeing

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Miléo New York

American luxury start-up Milèo New York capitalises on the wellbeing trend by harnessing the healing properties of aromatherapy in a new sustainable skincare collection.

The unisex range consists of four facial elixirs, which feature naturally occurring oud as the core ingredient. According to the brand, oud’s multifunctional properties regenerate skin cells and reduce inflammation – resulting in smooth and hydrated skin.

Each elixir contains 48 botanical extracts, which aim to stimulate a sensorial experience for the wearer. Amber Fort, for instance, is a brightening facial oil that combines Indian pink lotus flower and Indian jasmine – known to promote relaxation.

The launch feeds into a growing trend for reviving aromatherapy for the luxury sphere. It adapts the conventional use of fragrance to create evocative sensorial experiences for the skincare realm. For more on aromatherapy and fragrance, see New Fragrance Worlds  and Agile Beauty.

To ensure the purity of the ingredients being used in its formulas, Milèo harnesses an innovative testing method called gas chromatography-mass spectrum analysis, which quantifies the time an ingredient was harvested and how it was distilled. As a result, only clean and ethically sourced ingredients – free from chemicals, pesticides and synthetic enhancements – touch the wearers’ skin.  

This eco-friendly strategy is key to engaging with young luxury consumers, as clean and ethical values drive this demographic’s spend. Approximately 47% of millennials check whether high-end brands foster sustainable values before purchasing (Deloitte, 2017). For more on this see, Elevating Beauty and Luxury in a Turbulent World.

Published: 17 Apr 2018

Self-Service DNA Test Identifies Risk of Heart Conditions

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Color Hereditary Heart Health Test

US-based company Color has added a new genetic testing kit to its line of products that detect predispositions to inherited health conditions.

The Color Hereditary Heart Health Test costs $249 and analyses a customer's genetics for mutations in 30 genes responsible for heart function, focusing on an individual customer's risk of developing cardiovascular complications such as arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy.

Once the genetic test has been completed, the scheme offers a holistic approach to follow-up care: returned positive results come with personalised screening guidelines and the company provides board-certified counsellors for customers to discuss future health plans. Ongoing support and advice is also offered, alongside discounted test prices for family members if a customer's results indicate a genetic risk.

The Hereditary Heart Health Test joins Color's range of three other genetic testing kits, which screen for the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as the possibility of developing high cholesterol.

The global wellness industry is now worth over $3.72tn (Welltodo, 2018) and tech companies are getting behind a push to improve wellbeing through personalised testing, wearable tech and accessible healthcare innovations. "The thing we ask ourselves every day," says Color co-founder and former Twitter engineer Elad Gil, "is 'how can we help facilitate things so precision medicine will be available to everybody next year or in two years?'"

Health and fitness technology dominated the Wearable Technology Show in London this year. For more health-based innovations, read the report here.

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