What happens when a company lets its hackers run wild with its software? Sometimes chaos. But this Netflix Hack Day something quite interesting came out of it. The Fitbit Fitness smart band was hacked so that when you fall asleep, your Netflix will automatically pause. This seems like a very superficial feature when you first hear it, but besides curing a very common annoyance, it really has implication beyond something as simple as pausing a TV screen.
First, the easy part. How many times have you fallen asleep during a movie only to wake up at the title screen wondering what the last thing you saw was? If you are anything like me, it happens quite a bit during the week, when you’ve got to get up for work the next day. This hack would completely solve that with problem the “sleep bookmark” feature. Very cool.
This general idea could also be applied to a main control system in your house, where a smart band could be used to automatically lock doors, turn off lights or adjust the thermostat when you fall asleep. The reverse could mean that when you wake up the house would do a wake up routine by starting coffee or warming up the shower – anything that could be set.
This could mean so much for the personalization of our consumer products. This seemingly simple hack could be the beginning of the switch from us using a product, to the product understanding and adapting to us. Think about it, the concept could be used during exercise as well. During a warm-up, based on heart rate, the music you are listening to could get more and more upbeat the further into the workout you get until there is a sense that you are cooling down, and then the reverse could take place.
Of course, all of these possibilities are just that, possibilities. But if the concept can be used for something as simple as pausing a movie or TV show, then why can’t the same principles be applied to all aspects of the life of the user? As I said before this concept could be a switch from a mass consumer product forcing us to adapt our life to it to a life where our products are completely personalized to our specific needs and physical habits.