Wearable techs – friend or enemy?

Fitness tracker’s development until today

The use of fitness trackers and waist- and wristbands for research purposes reaches back until the 1980’s. The amount of information they were able to capture was highly limited due to their sensors and chips. The technological components only allowed detection of movement once per minute or less than that and only in one direction. Also, the devices had to be worn around the waist and as a result, they were being used for a much shorter period of time and were considered rather annoying while working out.


Today, some major advancements in technology provide us and researchers with a much greater set of options in terms of keeping track and collecting data about our workout routines.
If you take a look around in the gym, you will probably notice little watches or wristbands that a lot of people wear as an asset to their body. Lots of them wear them outside the gym, they’re slowly becoming part of people’s everyday routines, while they silently and comfortably measure and record different kind of processes in- and outside of your body. The fact that they can casually be worn like a regular watch, their trendy looks and their functionality (we’ve all seen Apple’s new iWatch previews!), allows people to have all these little utile processes done for them without even thinking about it.
This constant ‘exposure’ to these little gadgets gives researchers some very new perspectives. It is now possible for them to analyse our human activities such as walking, running, standing, sitting and evaluate to what extend each of them actually contribute to our health – negatively or positively. How many hours a day in a chair in front of a desk is healthy? How much movement does our body really need to keep our brains active? Are we involved in too much light and sedentary activities – or maybe too few? All these questions have been looked into much more in detail since these technologies are on the market.
Many users have reported – especially women – that their fitness-trackers have already changed their lives to a large extent. Possessing them has helped them achieve or get much closer to their fitness goals, makes them rather take the bike to work or walk instead of driving, they even report a feeling of a clearer mind due to their conscientiousness of staying fit. A lot of these people have stated they don’t want to live without their little technological friends anymore.
This all just seems great right ? – Let’s see what the future holds for the development of these wearables.

 

Whats next in the world of technologies installed on the human body?

The functional advancements in our fitness-trackers seem to have come to a very developed stage and a lot of people report remarkable progress concerning health and, to some part, also their lifestyle. What if there was even bigger and better development to come along? We always kind of wonder, looking at the current state of scientific and technological advancement, can there be even more to come? The answer is, as usual – yes! The world is doing it’s best to come up with new technologies to serve us with means to identify aspects of our body and our physical behavior and openly-speaking, ways to letting technology, step for step, be part of our human selves.
A little scenario that could apply to recent  developments in health monitoring: You have a doctor’s appointment. The doctor comes to see you, you reported some concerns about your health due to your electronic tattoo that constantly monitors data about different aspects of processes within your body. You confront the doctor with facts and figures that you have obtained about your body. A good part of the doctors field of responsibility has been taken over by a gadget that is installed onto your body – Great huh? Health care might face some fundamental changes due to developments like this one. Talking about change – theres more to come!

Let’s list a few of some recent advancements and new possibilities in the world of fitness and health. As we’re speaking, there’s organizations and scientists working on developing clothing that measures muscle activity, heart rate and respiration, who will even be able to interact with devices such as smartphones under the motto “become the ideal version of yourself!”
Future technologies might include sensors to measure also oxygen, CO2, PH, hydration and blood pressure data, galvanic skin response and electrocardiograms, skin conductivity…
Google X is working on ways to have magnetic nanoparticles circulating the body to look for cancer, devices are being built to measure the chemicals of our sweat such as electrolytes and metabolities.
We’re looking at a future of bionic, data-rich in-body technologies that augment human biology and therefore change what it means, to be human.

 

How do we feel about living with technology on (or in) our bodies 24/7?

Wearable technologies can have a positive impact on the way we lead our lives by giving us insight into ourselves and enabling us to interact in new ways. For now, we might feel we have a healthy relationship with technology, many see it as an enrichment to our everyday lives – for good reason. The advantages and objectives seem promising. Everyone wants to be healthy, enjoy a life without any major medical incidents. But we need to ask ourselves: To what extent can this current relationship be sustainable, have we not already reached a state where signs of takeover of technology are clearly visible? CNN has stated something I found remarkable:
Whether we want to or not, we are slowly, but steadily, transforming into a new human species. Enter: homo cyberneticus.

 

Sources:

https://theconversation.com/will-next-generation-wearable-sensors-make-us-healthier-37318

http://www.livescience.com/45634-accelerometers-exercise-research.html

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/01/health/dark-side-of-fitness-trackers/

 

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