Memento Mori is a health tracker and avatar display system that measures and visualizes the effects of health behavior to forecast how soon a person will die. Health is measured with a new metric: telomere length as an indicator of biological age. In calculus with life expectancy, biological age determines how much of a person’s life remains.
The tracker is a sensor that automatically monitors and wirelessly uploads data about a person’s health behavior, such as physical activity. It is as small, inconspicuous, and as easily carried as a coin. Upon tapping, biological and chronological ages and life expectancy are illuminated and visualized as concentric circles and individual numerical figures.
The display synthetically ages living organisms as avatars. Display avatars are embodiments of a person’s chronological and biological ages. The display of a person who is “biologically young” shows little contrast between avatars as they develop, wither, and die in unison. The avatars of a person who is “biologically old” shows great contrast: the biological age avatar dies prematurely, just as the person will in life.
The system is comprised of several components: the health tracker and system controller monitors and quantifies a person’s health behavior and calculates biological age. The system controller also hosts the microcontroller IDE required to read the gas sensors and actuate the solenoid valves that create an ethylene rich atmosphere within the display.
Ethylene is a naturally-occurring hydrocarbon gas thought of as the “aging hormone” in plants. It is responsible for causing fruits to ripen and flowers to die.
The display is comprised of several subcomponents. Sensors and valves occupy circuits with differing voltages: 5- and 12-volts respectively. A constant chamber pressure of 1–2 lbs. is maintained by a pressure release valve.
Interaction designers change behavior by creating feedback loops. The feedback loop is composed of four phases: evidence, relevance, consequence, and action. Evidence: a person’s health behavior, such as activity, is tracked. Relevance: raw data is quantified to determine biological age. Consequence: how soon the person will die is displayed. Action: consequences are considered and future behaviors are changed.
The tracker is a small inconspicuous device that monitors a person's health behavior.
On tap of a finger, the tracker illuminates to display biological and chronological age and life expectancy.
In IDLE mode, all three measures are displayed at-once as concentric circles.
The physical display is a data appliance designed to synthetically age living organisms as avatars.
Avatars are embodiments of a person's chronological and biological ages that visualize how much sooner or later the person is expected to die as a consequence of health behaviors. The display of a person who is “biologically young” shows little contrast between avatars as they develop, wither, and die in unison.
The avatars of a person who is “biologically old” shows great contrast: the biological age avatar dies prematurely, just as the person will in life.
By embodying human lifespans in those of shorter-lifespan organisms, people experience many lives within the course of one.