In some areas of the world access to nature is inhibited by a lack of public green space in cities, or inhospitable climate conditions. So what do they do? That’s where NaturePod™ can fill the void.
Created by aXiom Labs, “NaturePod™ is a revolutionary new way to deliver nature to the workplace. Its proprietary technology uses Natural Resonance Imaging (NRI) to recreate the diverse restorative and physical health gains of spending time in nature through scientifically curated imagery.”
Its creators claim that NaturePod™ can offer the following benefits:
Specific Restorative Benefits:
reduces stress and anxiety
reduces blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension
Specific Health Benefits:
NaturePod™ looks something like a massage chair with a VR setup. For those skeptical of the effectiveness of the device, studies have shown that viewing scenes of nature can have a restorative effect that increases productivity and creativity – as much as actually walking outside.
NaturePod™ claims, “We have a scientifically curated set of nature-like experiences that are especially enhanced to deliver more intensive health benefits in less time than nature itself actually does!”
“Our independent investigators have verified that a ten minute daily exposure in NaturePod™ Solo equates to the restorative impacts of an hour-long walk in nature - an ROI of 6X on what nature provides unaided.”
At this point I start to question the premise!
While the benefits to employers might mean that employees no longer take long lunch breaks in order to take advantage of a sunny day, what would be lost if architects and builders decided that such a device meant they didn’t have to put in as many windows or include green spaces into their designs? What do we lose in the march toward efficiency aided by technology?
It has been suggested that such a device would assist us in adjusting to the effects on our natural environment caused by climate change, by offering us an alternative that will ‘preserve’ nature for all time. But at what cost?
Could such thinking cause us to stop trying to increase green space in our cities because we have an ‘easier’ alternative that encourages an increase in density (translating into money) in urban areas?
These are some of the questions that the NaturePod™ demonstration at IIDEX Canada - a national design and architecture expo – raised earlier this year.
The NaturePod™ concept is in fact an experiment by the Situation Lab at OCAD University in Toronto, led by Stuart Candy, a professor for the Master of Design program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation, and his team.
Presented at IIDEX as a viable product that could be purchased, it was accepted by many as a legitimate concept that did not elicit the shock and alarm that Stuart and his team initially expected at the idea of replacing nature with technology.
He claims, “nine out of ten really liked it and we could have sold a bunch of them had we been there on a commercial basis that we were pretending to be there on.”
An alarming result!
Stuart notes of their IIDEX experiment, “The sort of solution that NaturePod™ represents is a sort of highly attractive and probably very likely in some quarters, expedient way to mitigate this systemic problem rather than actually deal with it head on. What we wanted to do is dramatise a near future possibility that is really almost evident once that you begin to think about it. And surprisingly, the thing was so plausible even today that nobody really questioned if it was actually happening because technologically we are there. The question and conversation is whether we are there morally.”
I have to hope that a great deal more conversation takes place around the issues raised by the NaturePod™ experiment and that we don’t rush down the path of finding ways to circumvent green spaces in favour of a inferior technological substitute.
Check out the NaturePod™ video below:
Originally via Treehugger