Benjamin Hubert of experience design agency Layer has created WorldBeing, a concept for a wearable and app to track carbon usage.
WorldBeing responds to one of the biggest challenges facing humanity, and suggests a step towards a community of aware consumers taking responsibility for their carbon footprint and the wellbeing of our planet.
Take personal responsibility for the wellbeing of our planet
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges currently faced by humanity. Around 72% of emitted greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, and these emissions are the biggest cause of global warming. If we don’t implement change now, the world will suffer irreversible damage, including loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise, and longer, more intense heat waves. It has been estimated that a 1.5 °C average rise in temperature may put 20-30% of species at risk. If the planet warms by more than 3 °C, most ecosystems will struggle to survive. Actively reducing our carbon emissions is the first step towards increasing the wellbeing of our planet.
How do we change our way of life, if we don’t know what kind of impact our actions have? LAYER believes there has never been a better time to start a discussion about how we can take responsibility for our carbon footprint.
We believe the near future will be a place of accountability. We anticipate restaurants, supermarkets, and other retail businesses will be required to list the carbon footprint of their products and services. Carbon will become a listed value on food items, alongside nutritional information. And, as contactless payment becomes more widespread, readily available automatically itemised payment information will become the norm.
We are already seeing the early stages of many of these initiatives.
• The EU Environmental Footprint Initiative is currently in the testing phase for the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), a method that measures environmental performance throughout the life-cycle of a product, including food items
• The most recent DGAC report recommends that consumers pay more attention to the carbon emissions impact of their food
• Governments around the world are committing to lower carbon emissions and phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century.
• The 20-20-20 targets set by the European Union aim to lower EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 20%; raise the share of EU energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20%; and achieve a 20% improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency, all by 2020.
Despite these targets, it is proven that meaningful and lasting change at a large scale can only come from populations changing their everyday behaviours. WorldBeing has the potential to drive that change.
What is the WorldBeing wearable?
The WorldBeing wearable provides constant awareness of carbon usage throughout the day, and notification of accomplishments, rewards, and community engagement. The device is also connected to the user’s real-time account on the WorldBeing app and can be used to make contactless payments. The data collected from these payments would then be used to calculate carbon usage.
The device has been designed to minimise energy usage and carbon emissions.
• The wristband of the wearable device would be made from injection moulded recycled e-waste, 20 to 50 million tons of which is generated worldwide every year.
• An E Ink display has been selected for its ultra-low power consumption.
• Direct contact charging – by way of a small stand for the wearable – would be used as it is 60% more efficient
than the induction charging that many other wearables rely on.
• Wireless payment is made secure through the use of an ECG sensor that monitors a user’s unique heartbeat signature beneath the screen, and payment confirmation is activated via the user touching the aluminium contacts beside the screen.
What is the WorldBeing app?
The wearable is connected to a smartphone and/or tablet app that provides more detailed information and community engagement.
• The home screen uses ‘Carbon Clouds’ – dynamic elements that visually reference the structure of carbon – to clearly visualise the user’s daily progress and proximity to a daily target generated by the app based on the user’s habits and history of carbon usage.
• The size of the Carbon Clouds indicates the amount of carbon created from a single purchase and as users approach their daily goal, the Carbon Clouds’ colour palette shifts from cool to warm, a reminder of the correlation between their actions and global warming.
• Tap on the home screen to access detailed usage graphs for food, home energy consumption, shopping, and travel over a range of time periods.
• WorldBeing data input would be integrated into users’ daily lives.
• WorldBeing has the potential to partner with existing services and apps to draw on an ecosystem of readily
• We envision WorldBeing connecting with existing services, such as Moven to track real-time purchases, Google
Maps to track travel, and My Fitness Pal, with its robust food database to track food consumption.
• Home energy usage is easily tracked via energy and water bill payments, with users stating the size of the household (adults and children) to accurately assign individual energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. If a user is not the bill payer, they will have the option to manually input quarterly bill details.
As WorldBeing uptake increases and supersedes early adopters, it is anticipated that the amount of manual user input would decrease as carbon information becomes more readily available in existing data provided by businesses.