Although luxury has always been around, it seems to be more important than ever. Luxury can be used to express wealth and riches. It can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle. But above all, luxury is a way to make things easier. So, what’s available? And what are the consequences of luxurious consumption? Keep reading to find possible answers.
WHY AND WHERE
One-third of the Dutch population says they are limited during every-day activities because of their health. According to researchers, especially older people have many health problems. For older people with health issues there are lots of products available to make life easier. Young people however are considerably less affected by health problems. Yet, there are so many ‘health’ products on the market that are also made for them. That makes the consumption of these products a luxury rather than a solution for a problem (ANP/NU.nl, 2017).
The ‘LVL’ wearable device is one of those luxurious consumptions. It’s a gadget that helps track one’s hydration level, heart rate, activity levels, mood, quality of sleeping and burnt calories. The wearable is meant to enable users to make better choices concerning their health by analysing data (Hemsworth, 2016).
But is such a product really that effective? According to research done at Stanford university, a ‘smartwatch’ is not smart at all. They did tests with devices such as the Apple Watch, PulseOn and the Fitbit Surge. The research shows that the devices had a deviation of more than 20% from the actual use of energy (NU.nl, 2017)
Another luxurious product are the reflexology massage sandals. It’s completely normal for people to have jobs for which they have to stand and walk a lot. A foot massage can be very relaxing and pain-relieving for these people. The inspiration for these massage sandals was an ancient form of Chinese therapy. The sandals are embedded with natural stones to provide stimulation along main acupressure points in the feet that will improve the circulation of blood (Davis, 2016).
To take luxury consumption a step further, there is the Samsung contact lens. Samsung has won patent for a contact lens with augmented reality. The goal of augmented reality is to seamlessly blend the real world and the virtual, which is done best without a headset. The lens will also include a tiny camera, motion sensors and a transmitter (Edwards, 2016).
The problem of luxury consumption starts with the companies that make them. Too much consumption can have a big effect on the environment. Over the past two decades, businesses have come a long way in their conversations about sustainability and climate change. Many companies now have strategies for sustainable and eco-friendly measures. These strategies are admirable and progressive, but the World Resources Institute says that businesses are failing to address the idea that consumption can continue unchecked in a world with finite resources that are already tapped to the max (Martinko, 2017).
Although the previous mentioned ‘signals’ are meant to highlight the need of people to consume more luxurious stuff than they actually need, sometimes it really is necessary to use ‘luxury’ to make health easier and perhaps even better than it currently is.
Technological developments are going to change every day healthcare. In the foreseeable future robots will be here to stay. Everyone can see that healthcare organisations are under pressure right now. People are getting older and there are fewer hands available to provide enough care. Care-robots can help with taking care of people. Care-robots regularly help doctors in doing research or surgical procedures. The Da Vinci robot is a robot used during surgery in which the surgeon performs the operation along with the care-robot. Another development is a more active role of the care-robots in the actual care and social interaction with patients. It is expected that the shortage of hands in the healthcare department will increase in the future, resulting in care-robots taking over some of the tasks that are now done by humans (Tim, 2017).
Another big technological help with taking care of people is Mabu. Catalia Health has developed the robot Mabu, a social robot driven by Artifical Intellegence (AI). Mabu is a robot with a simple but characteristic body and a tablet. Using this tablet he can adapt to the patients behaviour and preferences. Because the robot is AI driven, it can learn from the incoming data, resulting in the ability to anticipate (Toornstra, 2017).
People just want more and more, but when will it stop? When the earth is used-up and our children’s children can’t live on this planet anymore?
The World Resources Institute says “Most businesses’ growth is still predicated on more people buying more goods. The world will have more than 9 billion people by 2050, and the middle class will have swelled by 3 billion by 2030. A continuation of business as usual would mean not just a slight additional strain, but three times as much consumption of the planet’s already overused resources.” (Tim, 2017)
In order to reduce these amounts more companies have to become aware of the consequences in the long-term and make a real effort to solve the problem, especially when it’s about products that are not really necessary to improve a person’s health. Not only companies have to take measures into their own hands, also consumers have a very big responsibility in keeping the earth liveable. So, let’s stop excessive luxury consuming!
As to the matter of robots in healthcare; healthcare is becoming a combination of physical and virtual worlds. In addition, care is no longer a matter of professionals in an institutionalized setting, but is turning into open digital platforms which will give us the ability to medicate ourselves. When it comes to the future of robots we are afraid that robots will become too smart, but robots do not need to be smart in order to be effective. To optimally use robots, you need to have a robot friendly environment. That means reorganize and rationalize existing work processes. Current healthcare is in big need of a solution to make sure everyone gets the care they need in the future. However, using robots to do so will also bring the danger of de-humanizing healthcare (Robotzorg, 2017).
ANP/NU.nl. (2017, 11 mei). Derde van bevolking zegt problemen met gezondheid te hebben. Geraadpleegd van http://www.msn.com/nl-nl/gezondheid/medisch/derde-van-bevolking-zegt-problemen-met-gezondheid-te-hebben/ar-BBB0dmA?li=AA4WWt&ocid=spartanntp
Davis, J. (2016, 18 juli). These Sandals with Built-In Stones Offer Foot Reflexology on the Go. Geraadpleegd van https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/massage-sandals
Edwards, L. (2016, 07 april). http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/137239-samsung-contact-lens-displays-will-put-ar-video-and-cameras-in-your-eyes. Geraadpleegd van http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/137239-samsung-contact-lens-displays-will-put-ar-video-and-cameras-in-your-eyes
Hemsworth, M. (2016, 15 september). The ‘LVL’ Wearable Device Keeps Track of Hydration Levels and More. Geraadpleegd van https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/hydration-level
Martinko, K. (2017, 10 mei). Companies must stop ignoring the problem of consumption. Geraadpleegd van https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/companies-need-address-ecological-limitations-consumption.html
NU.nl. (2017, 26 mei). ‘Energieverbruik wordt met smartwatch slecht bijgehouden’. Geraadpleegd van http://www.nu.nl/gezondheid/4723212/energieverbruik-wordt-met-smartwatch-slecht-bijgehouden.html?redirect=1
Robotzorg. (2017, 10 mei). Mabu, de persoonlijke zorgverlener voor thuiszorgpatiënten [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van http://www.robotzorg.nl/nieuws-robotzorg/mabu-persoonlijke-zorgverlener-thuiszorgpatienten/
Robotzorg. (2017, 26 mei). Robotisering grijpt diep in op zorg en samenleving. Geraadpleegd van http://www.robotzorg.nl/opinie/robotisering-grijpt-diep-op-zorg-en-samenleving/
Sensimed. (2016, 07 april). http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/137239-samsung-contact-lens-displays-will-put-ar-video-and-cameras-in-your-eyes [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/137239-samsung-contact-lens-displays-will-put-ar-video-and-cameras-in-your-eyes
Tim, T. (2017, 07 februari). Zorgrobot. Geraadpleegd van http://www.robots.nu/zorgrobot/
Toornstra, Y. (2017, 10 mei). Mabu, de persoonlijke zorgverlener voor thuiszorgpatiënten. Geraadpleegd van http://www.robotzorg.nl/nieuws-robotzorg/mabu-persoonlijke-zorgverlener-thuiszorgpatienten/
Trendhunter. (2016, 15 september). The ‘LVL’ Wearable Device Keeps Track of Hydration Levels and More [Foto]. Geraadpleegd van https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/hydration-level
Trendhunter. (2016, 18 juli). These Sandals with Built-In Stones Offer Foot Reflexology on the Go
[Foto]. Geraadpleegd van https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/massage-sandals