Innovation That Matters

The app is designed to recreate the experience of "forest bathing" | Photo source HomeForest

Forest bathing recreated at home with smart devices

Computing & Tech

The HomeForest app concept, developed with a cross-industry effort, was the winner of this year’s Davidson Prize

Spotted: The Davidson Prize has been awarded to HomeForest, an app that leverages smart devices to bring the healing effects of forest bathing into the house. 

The contest, which awarded £10,000 to the winners, called for innovation to support the transition to working from work, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The technology aims to leverage the benefits of biophilia into the houses and aid city-livers with limited access to natural space. 

The app is designed to recreate the experience of “forest bathing”, a practice that originated in Japan which involves walking in forests whilst using all of one’s senses. In Japan, the practice is known as shinrin-yoku. “Shinrin” is the Japanese word for forest, and “yoku” translates as bath. Research has found forest baking to significantly support mental and physical wellbeing.  

HomeForest was a collaboration featuring architects Haptic, poet Lionheart, designer Yaoyao Meng, digital designers Squint/Opera and musicians Coda to Coda.  

The judges of the prize included architect Alison Brooks, Narinder Sagoo of Foster + Partners, designer Thomas Heatherwick, Dezeen columnist Michelle Ogundehin and Museum of the Home director Sonia Solicari. 

Alison Brooks has said that “Like us playing music which feeds our soul, HomeForest brings  a more immersive, sensory connection to nature which I find super interesting.”.  

According to the HomeForest team, the concept digital toolkit connects mobile and wireless/bluetooth home devices to evoke a variety of sensory experiences into the home, recreating the feeling of a natural environment. These include, “the call of birdsong, the smell of rain and projected imagery of a forest canopy”.  

The system would also monitor air-quality, ASMR-stimulating audio and gobo lighting, which changes according to circadian rhythms and the changing seasons. 

Written By: Katrina Lane

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