ambient user experienceThis blog often speculates on what the future of medical device design might be, and what might influence it. An article from Kurzweilai.net about technology trends for 2016 includes an interesting concept. Paraphrased from the article:

“The device mesh1 creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience (emphasis mine). Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only one aspect of the experience. The ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices — such as sensors, cars, and even factories — and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another.

1 “The device mesh refers to how people access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. It includes mobile devices, wearable, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices, and environmental devices, such as sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing for greater cooperative interaction between devices.”

The idea that a digitally-initiated experience could move across “a shifting set of devices” – and even into the physical world – is intriguing. A simple example: you’re listening to music from your smart phone through your car’s stereo. You arrive home, your music passes from your car back to your phone or to earbuds you’re wearing as you walk from the car inside, where your home sound system takes over.

This idea will be incorporated into medical devices and other health-related products as well. I have alluded to the “ambient user experience” concept in past blogs. I believe that the next three to five years will see product developers, including those in medical device design, focusing on this concept to develop “system products” that provide a seamless user experience that moves with us as we go about our daily activities.