Have you ever forgotten your employee ID at home, because you chose a different bag to take to work? Have you ever checked the forecast while eating breakfast, and then gotten so rushed that you ended up forgetting to take your umbrella? Upon returning home you may even have asked yourself how many convenience-store umbrellas you have bought this year.
Every time you forget something, your work efficiency drops, and you get upset by your carelessness. Even so, how few of us take actual measures to prevent ourselves from forgetting small items? Do we live in a world where many have given up trying to remember every little thing? The motivation behind our Hitokoe concept came from a desire to do something about this situation. Hitokoe can help us out with a clever little voice!
Who is most bothered by forgotten items?
Who is most troubled when items are forgotten at home? In order to examine this question, the Hitokoe team interviewed people inside the company, and found out a surprising fact. Many find it more aggravating when their children forget something, than when they forget something themselves.
Even if you have forgotten your employee ID or umbrella, there ways you can deal with it, but the situation is different with a child. For example, if a parent knows that his/her child has left for school without the house key, they must run and give it to the child. It is the same when a child forgets his/her swimwear on the day of the swimming class they were looking forward to. Since children can do very little for themselves in these kinds of situations, in the worst case scenarios, parents have to leave their workplace in order to visit the school.
The impact of the forgotten articles is great. Work needs to be rescheduled, and the parent gets irritated because their day has been messed up. They scold their child when they get home from school, and an unpleasant atmosphere hangs in the house. Instead of enjoying dinner together, the family eats in gloomy silence. Nobody likes these kinds of situations. Also, when parents miss work to deliver forgotten items, they are usually required to take a half day off. If pay is deducted from a parent's salary, it can add up to a few thousand or tens of thousands of yen. Yes, forgotten items can be pretty hard on the wallet as well.
Is my son/daughter forgetting things?
So how many children are regularly forgetting things at home? When we interviewed an elementary school teacher, she reported that there are about five children in the class who forget items on a daily basis. Also, one of our project members indicated that his own child forgets to take something to school about once a week. Whenever parents are unaware, children seem to forget things often. Perhaps your own child has been forgetting various things. The potential scope of this problem could be unexpectedly large.
An appliance for the entryway?
How can we prevent forgotten articles in the morning? It appears we need something to remind us to take our important things. There are various ways of doing this, including reminder products already on the market. After considering these existing methods, our team concluded that none of them are fundamental solutions.
Idea 1: Your smartphone could say, "Remember your wallet!" at a certain time of day
Since our schedules usually change from weekdays to weekends, we need something that can remind us just before we leave the house, according to the day of the week. Unfortunately, when people hear the same reminder time after time, they eventually ignore it.
Idea 2: Your smart speaker in the living room could remind you
What about using a smart speaker for help? That won't work unless you remember to say, "Is there something I need to take today?" So, when you are in a rush to leave, you will inevitably end up forgetting to ask.
Then we looked at the front entrance, which is the threshold between the inside and outside of the home. If you get a reminder as you are about to leave the house, you still have just enough time to go and get the forgotten item. So we decided that the front door was the best place for Hitokoe to solve the problem of forgotten items. In fact, we created Hitokoe as a solution that can automatically remind the right person, at the right time, about what they have actually forgotten. This is because Hitokoe can recognize each person who is about to leave the house, and determine what they are carrying, or not carrying.
How can Hitokoe improve your life?
To examine the potential benefits, we installed a basic prototype for Hitokoe in the homes of the team members. Then, even without any parental supervision, our children started to remember their umbrellas and other items on their own. They started to get into the habit of preparing their own belongings, which can be seen as a sign of self-growth. Since we no longer worry about the children forgetting things, we can send them off to school with confidence. Since Hitokoe reminds adults as well as the children, all family members are able to leave home in the morning with ease. This way of life will soon be available for everyone!
Now we are living a life free of the gradually building stress that comes from always having to remember small things. Hitokoe represents the first step toward a lifestyle that makes you more cheerful and content. By updating your entrance with new technology, you can make your life even more enjoyable!
Team members discussing the creation of a prototype for solution verification
We will continue to advance this project in order to bring the Hitokoe solution to the world. Thank you for your continued support.
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