A Scale That Sketches Your Weight Like Rings In A Tree

Losing weight is as easy as finding the eraser.

It’s almost spring, which means that many of us have rounded out a bit during the winter months. The cookies and hot cocoa were fun, but looking at a scale … seeing that number … I’d rather just start running again.

But the Weight Recorder, by student Weiche Wu, may be the most soft-hearted scale ever created. It ignores numeric calculation entirely, and instead draws out your weight over a period of 10 years. Each time you step on the scale, this tree-ring-like chart thickens. (Hopefully, it’s the only thing growing larger.)

"I think the project is not enabling or depressing people, instead, the project is more like making people realize their changing of body condition," Wu tells Co.Design. "The body records and reacts to something that can reflect how our life was at a specific period of time."

Wu is more interested in someone’s weight narrative than a one-and-done stat. Maybe you got pregnant, bulked up, trained for a marathon or went on a juice fast. Rather than just measuring this change in pounds, these life events become part of a larger continuum. Your physical accomplishments and failures become peaks and valleys rather than "that time I lost 8 pounds in a week before my trip to the beach."

For the average person, Wu sees his scale as "more accessible" than our traditional scales, in that it translates weight into a language users can better understand than numbers. I’m not so sure that’s the case in the short term, "is Atkins working for me or not," scenario. But over time? Has cutting out pizza mattered at all over these last six months? It’s these longitudinal trends that could be quite helpful. Or, at the very least, they’d make for an interesting sketch of your life.

[Yanko Design]

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  • D Martin

    While I love the idea, I think that it misses an oportunity. I wish there was a bathroom scale like the recording thermometers/hygrometers used by industry. The paper chart rotates much like Wu's design, but rotates once per day or week or month or maybe even once per year. I'd love one that does one rotation per year, so you could see seasonal effects, and once one year was complete, it would repeat each year showing evidence of growth(weight gain) or decline(weight loss). Patterns might emerge relating more to the way growth rings vary in trees based on seasonal condtions.