Mindful Concept: Reflect
We came across a super cool textile based relaxation aid concept called Reflect. It promotes mindfulness through biofeedback. The thoughtfulness of this product fits right in with our core value of letting the tech disappear, and the tactile aspects are so much more than the sum of their parts. We caught up with Reflect Innovation’s founder, Noga Sapir, who told us more.
Tell us about Reflect.
Reflect is a soft, soothing and mobile relaxation aid, that relies on biofeedback techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. It gives users a tangible way to be mindful to and reflect on their stress, in order to be better able to control it.
Following the principles of biofeedback therapy, Reflect measures physiological parameters in the body that correlate to stress, and presents them to users through changing LED lights. This creates a feedback loop that allows users to gain more control and calm themselves.
As opposed to traditional biofeedback devices, Reflect doesn’t have any electrodes and it doesn’t require any software or a monitor. It’s a knit ball where the sensors are embedded within the textile, so it doesn’t feel like a medical device and doesn’t feel tech-y or complicated to use. People can take Reflect with them and take it out whenever they want a few minutes to focus and relax with its soothing light and soft texture.
What is the goal of this concept?
The goal of the Reflect concept is to further explore biofeedback by designing a solution for it as a personal product in a home or other personal settings. Biofeedback is a very interesting example of the mind-body connection. Just as the body influences your mind, your mind can influence your body, and you can learn how to leverage that to lower your stress levels and to feel calmer. We live such stressful and hectic lives, and I hope having Reflect will allow people to enjoy the benefits of biofeedback, give them an easy and accessible way to disconnect for a bit, and to take charge of their stress and well-being.
Tell us about your journey to create Reflect.
Reflect began as my final project in the last year of my degree in Textile Design studies. Before design school, I got a B.Sc in Neuroscience, but at the end of last year I realized I didn’t want to pursue that as a profession and was looking for ways to channel my creativity and self-expression. That is why I chose to change direction completely and go into design, following a lifelong love of knitting that I inherited from my grandmother.
As part of my final project, I was able to combine the two fields. I wanted to use textiles to better people’s lives, and the idea for Reflect came from my personal dealings with anxiety and stress. Thinking back to what I learned about the mind and the body in my previous studies, I immediately thought of biofeedback therapy as a means to deal with stress, and that defined the design challenge I wanted to tackle.
When I finished my final project I had a series of four working prototypes which I took to exhibitions and competitions around the world. I was so thrilled to find that people had a genuine connection with the concept and the prototypes. There was this magical moment that happened when they picked up this thing that looked so low-tech, crafty and warm, and suddenly it lit up at the touch of their hand. It was then they realized there was also technology behind it. When people heard what this “ball” actually did, they got so excited they asked when it was going to be available to purchase! At that point, a few months after finishing school, I realized I want to develop Reflect into a product. I was lucky to find a VC that wanted to back me and shared my vision to get Reflect to people’s hands.
How do you see this concept contributing value to the mindful technology community?
The way I approached technology in designing Reflect was, without knowing it, aligned with the values of mindful technology. Reflect gives users a way to interact with technology in a different way than we’re used to, and therein lies its value. It’s not another phone app, you don’t swipe on a screen, the soft feeling of it in your hands really is almost the opposite of what we’ve come to expect from tech and gadgets. It’s warm and inviting and it speaks the language of textiles which is of craft and comfort. It’s a companion that fits in a user’s day-to-day when they want to take a moment for themselves. It asks for their full attention, to truly disconnect and step away from what they’re doing, to focus on their well-being, and listen to their body. You need two hands to hold it – you can’t be on your phone simultaneously!
What does mindful technology mean to you?
I think that we’re at a point where technology pretty much rules our lives. To me, committing to mindful technology means being accountable for that, and that when we design tech we design it in a way that is focused on the well-being of the user. My goal isn’t to get user’s “hooked” on my product, it’s for my product to be there for them when they need it and want it, and that it brings them real value and calm.
What can we expect next from you and how can people follow along?
We are currently in the R&D stage and plan to get Reflect to the market next year, so stay tuned. For now, you can sign up for our mailing list on our website to keep up with updates about Reflect development, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you have any questions or are interested in learning more you’re also always welcome to reach me directly at noga (at) reflectinnovation (dot) com!
We look forward to holding Reflect in our hands! Learn more about Reflect by visiting their website and watching the video below.
All images from Noga Sapir and Ahikam Ben Yosef.
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