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24 September 2018

What not to wear(able)

Wearable device

For years now, we’ve begun to accept wearable devices into our lives – primarily in the guise of the fitness tracker. Companies like Fitbit have done particularly well by helping people be more active through the miniaturisation of simple technologies such as step counters and integrating them with clever phone apps.

But on Friday 21st September 2018, a fundamental shift occurred.

This was the day that humankind consciously allowed itself to be constantly monitored; not just for fitness, but for day to day wellbeing and, crucially, health.

The change has come from that age-old reinventer of technology, Apple. 21/09/18 marks the date that Watch Series 4 started shipping to millions of recipients worldwide, one of which being the author of this article.

So what’s so important about health?

Well, I’ve survived the last 34 years (almost 35, but let’s park that one for now) without needing a system that will alert me if my heart rate gets too high. Or too low. And, for that matter, without a system that will call my emergency contacts (and the emergency services) if I fall down and don’t get back up.

But for the 12,724 days I’ve been on this Earth, others have not been so fortunate. Others whose life could have been saved had they been tethered by something as intimate as their own heartbeat to the great wide Internet of Things.

Whilst the risk is small, the idea that we can augment ourselves with a guardian of health is a powerful one. It may have started with the Watch Series 4, but it certainly won’t end there. What we’ve just witnessed is a wholesale shift in when and how we allow technology, and the companies that control it, into our lives.

iWatch 4

Clearly this change places great responsibility on those of us with the technical and design capabilities to exploit such a platform. But it also charts new possibilities, ones that will allow us to reach in and physically tap people on the wrist when we want their attention.

Most of the Apple Watch ‘applications’ that exist out there are nothing more than extensions of their iPhone counterpart, save for a few fitness apps that really make use of those fitness features in the Watch that we’ve been familiar with for a few years now.

At Dodgems and Floss, we’ll be considering how this unique opportunity to access a personal guardian of not just fitness but also wellbeing and health can revolutionise how we tailor user experiences, and how we too can add genuine value to the connected augmentation proposition.