The development of wearable technology is all the rage. Google glasses and mobile companies racing watches to market to pair with smart phones is just the tip of the iceberg. This last week Fast Company focused on wearable technology and while most of the articles combined to give an overview of the current market, the one that captured my attention was “4 Wearables That Give You Superpowers” (Mark Wilson, Fast Company). It’s a hopeful look towards the future, introducing concept designs that could significantly change how tasks are performed and cities are experienced. The article reminds me of the opening to Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, where a newspaper listing offers self-improvement to those aspiring to benefit the world. Patchopolis is passionate about how technology can empower citizens to, in turn, improve the places they love.
The concept design wearables featured in Wilson’s article all improve the capabilities of the user. Much like the swimwear used to break world records in the 2008 Olympics (David Cardinal), these visions of wearable technology will improve the performance of the wearer to allow them to perform beyond natural limits. The Kineseowear is like an extra muscle worn to signal the body. Depending on form and placement it could signal directions in advance or tighten around the stomach at meal times to reduce a wearer’s appetite. The Ouijiband improves hand coordination allowing a user to draw perfect forms or a doctor to make finer incisions. Beyond this article I also found the concept design for Project Underskin, an implanted digital tattoo that “can unlock your front door, trade data with a handshake, or even tell you if you have low blood sugar” (Wilson, Fast Company). These concept designs transform the user, improving performance beyond natural ability levels.
While wearable technology may initially seem like an unnecessary thrill for those with disposable income, it creates the opportunity to support the individual in improving their community. Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael opens with an advertisement that reads, “TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world” (1992). It isn’t enough to want to learn from the teacher, but the pupil is expected to take the knowledge and in turn improve the world. They are being trained for a mission and committing to a path of service. The same potential exists with wearable technology; a user’s ability will be greatly improved, but they must, in turn, use this ability in service. These technologies cannot be developed to just make life easier, but enable change agent’s in bettering society. Only those passionate about where they live and with the desire to serve need apply for the newest in wearable technology.