CONFi helps companies gather metrics on employees and allows managers to make objective decisions on who to promote and who to let go.

Created: May 11th, 2019



Given the rise in products aiming to help people with posture and body language, we wanted to explore a world where these products were taken a step further. We leveraged existing technology developed at university's, such as the facial recognition software at Carnegie Mellon, and thought of ways to integrate it into the world of tomorrow. Thus, CONFi was developed. 


Through the years the design of CONFi has become even more innovative and aesthetically pleasing. CONFi is now being used worldwide by 400 trusted partners of Aura. With the success of CONFi, the recording and metricating of every day interactions has become habituated within the workplace.

CONFi will assist your company in gathering these metrics and will provide you with a detailed report on how each and every one of your employees is doing. With CONFi you'll know exactly who to promote and who to let go... with confidence.  



By 2025, studies had proven that good social interactions, such as proper eye contact and body posture have a direct correlation to overall workplace performance; increasing the need for transparency of this information. 

CONFi began as a prototype (artifact seen above) and was piloted within Aura. Its huge success led to its public deployment in 2030.

CONFi is manufactured with a 3D printed shell which protects the internal sensors from outside elements. As a body posture correction tool and confidence-boosting AI, Aura hosts a camera with microscopically sized lens, which detects the position of the employee's body and, by the utilization of machine-learning, detects poor versus proper body posture. To ensure that CONFi can securely give access to its gathered information to authorized personnel (i.e. top level executives or managers), we embedded a fingerprint scanner that will unlock CONFi's AI mechanism and give feedback on employee performance.


Exhibit Labels

The Aura Special Technologies Group had the opportunity to showcase CONFi at the annual RME exhibit in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Pictures of the exhibit including the exhibit labels are seen below.  

Our exhibition featured three iterations of CONFi as well as the initial marketing video for CONFi, version one. The first iteration boasted impressive results, but had difficulties detecting more than 100 employees. Since CONFi was new to the market, we also found other types of information and answers to questions that CONFi had the potential to provide. With an upgrade in the back-end of CONFi, we created CONFi, version two, which could detect up to 500 employees and give more helpful insights into improving workplace performance. Another iteration with CONFi helped to dispel bugs and create faster facial recognition and better insight into body posture detection from years of machine learning. 


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The below social, technological, and economic factors served as signals for what would influence the design and function of CONFi. 


Technology being researched in 2019 that paved the way for CONFi included the following: 

- TeachAARS, which helps improve overall nonverbal communication and teaching performance

- Carnegie Mellon University Body Detection Software, which comprehends body posture and movements in real time 

- China's Social Credit System, which assess citizens with regard to their creditworthiness 

Below are more detailed signals that impacted the development of CONFi as well as a timeline that includes societal events ultimately leading to its public deployment. 



We began the process by brainstorming areas of improvement within our communities. We observed the increase in products that aim to help students enhance their overall wellness and mental health. In looking at what our current university is doing to combat this concern we realized there was an abundance of resources but that it wasn't easy to find exactly what you need. Thus, our initial idea was to have a personal AI assistant, named Scotty, that could help you navigate college. You could say, "Hey Scotty, I'm how can I learn about different wellness techniques" and Scotty would respond by letting you know of the upcoming Fresh Check Day which aims to raise awareness about mental health and how to instill wellness in your everyday life. 


We realized that Scotty wasn't looking too far into the future and was also very specific to Carnegie Mellon so we shifted our mindset to figure out what other areas people are looking to improve in. This was when the first iteration of an AI assistant helping to improve body posture came about. It would record your movement throughout the day and let you know how you could improve. Not only would it show you in real time what specific areas to work on but it will also teach you how to improve by simulating it on the hologram version of you. 


We then considered how we could take the above product to the next level and thought of circumstances in which information about body posture could be useful to know. Various research papers indicated that body posture can have a positive and negative influence on one's interactions with others. As such, we figured this information would be good for managers to know and thus transitioned our product into the workplace. Through much ideation, various iterations, and constant feedback we landed the final idea for CONFi.


Reflection & Open Questions

Through CONFi, we were able to explore the idea of conscious, constant monitoring of individuals in the workplace, heightening workers' senses of body and behavior awareness. Yet, a question remain unanswered: how will society's policies surrounding fast-developing technological devices like CONFi respond to such social changes in the future? More often than not, products have long-term effects and consequences that can be unintended and unpredictable, so policies on data-collection and privacy, two main themes that monitoring devices deal with, may greatly change or be created to protect the safety of people. 

Although CONFi is intended to help employees in companies improve how they present and carry themselves in the work environment, we are well aware of the possible effects our device could have on them psychologically. When one is fully aware of how an object is monitoring their every behavior for the entirety of every work day, some may fixate intensely on trying to lead "Instagram-perfect" lives. This sort of exhausting behavior could seriously affect one's mental health. Since CONFi is a newly-launched device, we have yet to see large trends on how it affects workers' mental health. As such, will we have to re-evaluate how effective CONFi will be in the workplace? Will work performance come at the price of how the workers' health?  

Furthermore, mental health has become less taboo in several Western countries, so we may be able to more quickly identify any mental-health-related issues we see and respond accordingly by making the necessary changes to CONFi. However, there are many Asian countries that still associate stigmas with those who seek mental health help, yet self-help and self-improvement products have been rising in Asian markets. CONFi may bring upon significantly different results depending on what cultural background they are implemented in. Although Asian companies may more eagerly welcome CONFi in their workplace to instigate improved work performance, it may be harder to identify any problems surrounding the employees' psychological health. What kind of shift in how people want to interact with CONFi will be see in different cultures?

Given how unpredictable the future is --especially when dealing with technological devices, we had to seriously consider as many long-term consequences that could occur as a result of the use of CONFi. As much as we have thought about the different scenarios that could happen through interactions with CONFi, a plethora of unforeseeable, unintended outcomes will still remain unknown to us until they happen. 

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CONFi helps companies gather metrics on employees and allows managers to make objective decisions on who to promote and who to let go.