We spend a portion of our day in this wet and slippery space alone with the door locked, often with no smartphone to call for help if something goes wrong—we are of course talking about the the bathroom. How can one alleviate potential danger in this private space through clever and responsive design?
Göz is a family of smart home-monitoring devices aimed at making the bathroom a safer place.
Designer: Berk Ilhan
Professors of the Product, Brand and Experience Class: Rinat Aruh, Johan Liden, Carly Burton, Jennifer Olson of Aruliden
Designed by School of Visual Arts, MFA Products of Design alum Berk Ilhan, Göz consists of three elements: a motion-detecting LED bulb, a motion-detecting bathtub drain and a companion app. The smart bulb detects falls in the bathroom and then calls for help. The bathtub drain detects falls and a lack of motion due to fainting, then automatically empties the tub. Göz keeps you and your loved ones safe in the bathroom.
Design research revealed that the bathroom is a very dangerous place for both young and old alike, but surprisingly, there isn't a smart safety product in the market that solves the problem seamlessly and in an elegant way. According to Centers for Disease Control's report, almost 235,000 nonfatal bathroom injuries were treated in U.S. Emergency Departments. Consumersadvocate.org claims that 62% of elderly victims won't be able to live independently afterwards, if they don't receive help within an hour. Learning from the research, Göz was designed as a family of smart bathroom safety devices that do their jobs invisibly without embarrassing its users. In contrast to the medical looking life alert devices, "Göz" was created with a unique branding perspective that sees both the young and old age groups as potential users, so it aims to attract both age groups and fit all bathrooms with its minimal look and variety of color options.
How it Works
The Göz ecosystem is installed very easily. Users screw the bulb into any overhead light fixture, and drop the drain plug into any existing bath fixture. Both of these elements are designed to be inconspicuous and modest (user research revealed that people didn't want visitors walking into their bathrooms and realizing a fall detection alert system.) The user then downloads the mobile app and selects which family members and friends should be called in case there is a fall in the bathroom. The smart bulb automatically detects falls using proximity sensors. Its built-in speaker and microphone—located at the midpoint of the bulb—turns the device into a 2-way speakerphone, providing a hands-free way for the injured person to communicate her or his needs effectively, and helping the people who are on the way over to be better prepared.
Additionally, the phone communication provides a way to give psychological support before help arrives. Since bathtubs and showers are usually isolated from the bathroom with a curtain or glass, the smart bathtub drain was created. If the device detects any unusual shock patterns—say, a fall in the shower, or zero motion in the tub longer than a determined duration of time—the smart drain warns the user. If it doesn't receive a response, the device automatically pops up, drains the bathtub, and calls for help. (The smart drain is connected to the bulb via Bluetooth, allowing it to be compact with low energy consumption.)
The project and its namesake were inspired by the traditional Turkish icon of protection—the "evil eye bead"—believed to protect people from injuries and accidents. The word "göz" is the Turkish translation of the word "eye". Göz is envisioned to be an essential safety device in the smart home monitoring market, and there is a huge opportunity to adapt Göz to other rooms or other environments as a way to provide robust safety with connected devices that are both contemporary and inconspicuous.
To see other projects of Berk visit www.berkilhan.com, follow berk @salihberkilhan and reach him at email@example.com