Welcome to Hint

Hi there, and thanks for checking out our brand new blog! We’re now in the prototyping and testing phase for Hint, so we thought it was about time we started sharing our updates with you.

First, some introductions. Hint was created by a team of designers and engineers at IXDS - the leading service design consultancy in Germany, lead by Professor Reto Wettach and Nancy Birkhölzer. We’re based in Berlin, with another studio in Munich. This is where the idea for HINT was born, supported by the expertise of our colleagues.

With Participatory Health being one of the HUBs at IXDS, we have designed and prototyped many connected services for healthcare - both for startups and corporate organisations. We started to investigate this space further and explore how user-centered design and technology can make people’s lives better. We did this by running a Hackathon with our team, on the topic ‘Technology for Elderly’; a user group that’s growing year by year.

We found that many people have problems with forgetfulness – remembering the normal tasks that pop up in our daily routines. And whether we like it or not, this problem intensifies as we get older and approach the ‘OAP’ status. Almost everyone we asked has a parent or grandparent who they worry will forget to take their medication, for example.

Smartphones seem to be the best reminder solution on the market right now, but these aren’t always suitable for elderly people, nor the less tech-savvy among us. Because they are multi-functional, you end up bombarded with notifications which are all too easy to click ‘ok’ and ignore.

We realised that the best way to address this problem is to have small, physical devices placed around your home, at points where action is required. So if you need to take your medicine at 5pm each day, stick one on your pill box! That way, when the ambient notification tells you it’s time to react, you have to go there and do it before you can click ‘done’.

With a connected wifi hub, we can collect the user’s behaviour patterns and activity; data which may later prove to be very useful for research and for the user to adapt their habits. Anyway, we’ll tell you more about that later.

Right now we have a prototype, and we’ll be working with a user group of over 65s to better determine the need for a smart reminder product like Hint. We’re picking up speed now, so check back in soon to see the progress we’ve made!

Let’s say goodbye forgetfulness, hello Hint.