The Impact of Wearables on the Human-Technology Relationship
Human fascination with self-improvement via technology is something of an obsession, and has been for generations.For over a millennia we have been predicting and imagining an array of weird and wonderful things to expect from future technology.
Take wearable technology, for example. The idea of computers and other gadgets we can actually wear is – technically – nothing new. In fact, predictions that tech would eventually become almost seamlessly integrated with our bodies were made several decades ago.
And now, these predictions have begun bearing fruit.
The Impossible Becomes the Norm
The thing about science fiction is that it is only ‘fiction’ until it becomes actual ‘science.’ When you take a look back at the kinds of things that used to be nothing more than pure fantasy – credit cards, portable stereos, video surveillance, etc. –these were all, at one time, about as alien as the prospect of unpowered human flight remains to us today. But what’s really changed about technology in recent years is the way in which we are starting to look to tech and gadgets not as additional items or devices, but as things we can incorporate into our lives and to some extent make a part of ourselves.
It’s all perhaps best illustrated in the way in which fashion and technology are slowly but surely coming together to form one highly cohesive industry. On an aesthetic level, technology is sometimes used for no other reason other than to make cutting-edge fashion look more impressive. But taking that further, it’s a case of real technological conveniences being effectively stitched into the very seams of the garments.
As you can see, precisely the kind of stuff that even today seems somewhat on the impossible side is clearly happening right there before our very eyes. It’s getting to a point where the boundaries of realistic imagination and creativity are being all but erased, and the impact this is likely to have on the fashion industry going forward is almost impossible to comprehend.
It may be the kind of thing that’s confined to the pages of Harry Potter for the time being, but genuinely conquering invisibility is something that’s already on the horizon. There’s no magic or hocus-pocus involved, but instead the intelligent refraction of light and other waves that make the fabric in question look almost invisible to the naked eye. The fiction is becoming science.
But it goes even further than that, as there are multiple examples of future-focused technology where human skin becomes the platform. Enormous advances are being made in the field of smart-tattoo and under-skin implant development, which could eventually see somewhat cumbersome, ‘remedial’ wearable technology become a part of our fabric. The idea of using a tattoo to monitor your daily workout might seem bizarre, but it’s happening, and sooner than you might think.
Imagination vs Progress
For perhaps the first time in recorded history, we’re actually reaching a point where technology is evolving at such an extraordinary pace that it’s largely outpacing our very imaginations. Almost everything we can imagine is either already happening, or is so far along in development that it could be released sooner than later.
The human-technology relationship is progressing and intensifying. Even the most ambitious of future-tech-visionaries could never have it seen coming. And while it’s the kind of prospect that terrifies some, the rest of us see it as nothing less than the chance to breathe life into even our most radical of dreams and visions.
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Emily Honeywell is a digital strategist and ‘matchmaker’ who helps start-ups and scale-ups on their journey to commercialisation, facilitating partnerships between talented innovators, investors and brands. She discovered her own entrepreneurial spirit when bringing Digital Shoreditch to life as Festival Director, nurturing it from an idea to a week-long festival with over 2000 attendees, national press coverage, and an ongoing collective. She also works closely with entrepreneurs and luminaries across a spectrum of industry sectors at IC tomorrow, an Innovate UK programme to stimulate innovation and economic growth in the digital sector. Clients and collaborators include Argos, Procter & Gamble, London College of Fashion, Liberty of London, Holition, PlayGen, Samsung, BBC, Channel 4, Barclays and more.