The scale of the future does not have numbers or dials. It won't even tell you how much you weigh. It doesn't have a screen to display your weight because, if you ask behavioral economist at Duke University Dan Ariely, weight is a metric of the past.
Ariely has spent his career researching the invisible machinery of human choice: why we neglect to save money for things we need we know, why we lie to our friends, and to ourselves.
Recently, he's turned his focus toward the choices we make about our health. Why, Ariely wondered, do people have such a hard time making healthy choices?
Ariely imagines the common bathroom gadget as a gateway to better understanding our health, a way to subtly reshape human health behavior one pound at a time. But in order to do that, Ariely wants to rethink the scale's design.
Most scales remind people of the shame, regret, and self-disgust they feel when they step onto one.
Even the simplest nugget of data can be misleading. When you see your weight go up two pounds, you assume you've done something wrong. When you see your weight go down two pounds, you assume you've done something right. Most of the time, you haven't done anything at all.
"It's incredibly confusing and demotivating," says Ariely. "So we said, 'OK, let's rethink the numberless scale.'" More encouragement, less data. Ariely's dream of the unquantified self.
The smart scale designed by Ariely captures bone density and muscle mass in addition to overall weight, and it connects to your phone. You simply step on, and step off. And it never tells you how much you weigh, not even in the app.
Instead, it analyzes all the granular information about your body and translates it into simple humanspeak: either you're doing fine, or you're not.
Everything else happens in the scale's app, which connects to the scale via Bluetooth. The app also pulls data from the health kit on your phone — so, if you wear a smart watch, or track your workouts through a mobile app like Keep, it can synthesize that data along with your weight.
APP与体重计通过蓝牙连接。APP可以从手机上安装的健康工具中提出数据 —— 因此，如果你佩戴智能手环，或使用像Keep这样的APP跟踪记录运动，它可以将这些数据与体重数据综合起来。
Then, it then presents your health on a five-point scale: Either you're a little better, a little worse, much better, much worse, or basically the same.
The five-point system takes into account the way people actually gain and lose weight. A few pounds up or down means nothing at all, especially if it's not sustained over time.
So the app creates a running average of weigh-ins over the past three weeks, and uses that to give feedback rather than your weight in a given moment. "If you're within one standard deviation," Ariely says, "then we say, 'You're just the same.'"
He thinks this approach will help people better understand how their choices are affecting their health overall, rather than what makes someone gain or lose a few fractions of a pound in a day.
A five-month study to test the screenless scale has shown that in a control condition, people who used a regular scale gained 0.3 percent weight every month; People in the other group, using the numberless scale, lost 0.6 percent weight per month.
"That means we can take an everyday object, like a scale. Look at it from perspective of social science, think about it in a different way, and design it in a way that will be more compatible with how we make decisions to get the best results. It is not just the scale," Ariely says in a speech.