Wearable Technologies are perhaps a development most significant to today’s society, for it has made devices an everyday essential item. Wearable Technologies are created to be accessible, usable, and portable in the simplest way. They are devices and gadgets that are worn on the body and disguised as accessories or clothing and thus have become an invisible force and symbol of advanced technologies. This blog aims to explore the different types of Wearable Technologies, their criticism, and the prospect of a future where the boundary between technology and our bodies becomes invisible.
Perhaps the most obvious example of a wearable technology is the smartwatch. With the ability for fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, and relaying the notifications from your phone to your watch, oh and also being able to perform as a traditional watch, it is a non-negotiable device for not only athletic people but anyone who prefers to have their communication device on them at all times. A branch off of smartwatches are fitness trackers, which give you a more in-depth experience and tailored training regime, as well as fitness clothing which is designed to monitor specific functions, and smart jewelry which has the same ability but is even more compact. All of this is to draw attention to our dependence on technology which has become more minuscule and essential to daily life.
Burgundy Waller, otherwise known as Chip Girl, is a creator on TikTok who gained a significant following after sharing what her life looks like. When a video of hers went viral after she demonstrated how to unlock her house doors, people started criticizing her. What was so surprising was the chip embedded in her hand that functioned as a digital key. The reason for her criticism came from different angles. Most users claim that rich people are so bored that they spend their money on abnormal and bizarre technologies to have some excitement. Others argue that these technologies are dangerous for the body, emit deadly chemicals and radiation, and are therefore putting her children in danger (the children did not have the chips, but to be in the same space was apparently dangerous). These critiques have no scientific rationality, but it had me thinking about why humans are so opposed to this development when we are already interdependent on them.
A Medical Necessity
I wonder what the people who criticized Chip Girl would think of the merging of our bodily functions and technology. Whereas the chip just serves as a key that you could never lose and has no tempering with the body, some devices are designed to alter your bodily functions, like the pacemaker. A small device that is implanted under the skin, by the collarbone, it is a technology that helps regulate heart rate by sending electrical impulses. Pacemakers are a necessary medical device for those who are unable to maintain a healthy heartbeat and thus the conspiracies aren’t as prevalent anymore.
Wearable technologies aren’t a new phenomenon, pacemakers were first successfully used in 1958, fitness watch in 2003, and a implanted microchip in 1998, so why is there so much scepticism? Yes, the merging of technology and our bodies is an unnatural develeopment, but perhaps in oder to keep up with a technology dependent world, us ourself have to be adaptable to this change.
Yasar, Kinza, and Ivy Wigmore. 2023. “Wearable Technology.” Mobile Computing. November 14, 2023. https://www.techtarget.com/searchmobilecomputing/definition/wearable-technology.
“John Hopps and the Pacemaker: A History and Detailed Overview of Devices, Indications, and Complications | British Columbia Medical Journal.” n.d. https://bcmj.org/articles/john-hopps-and-pacemaker-history-and-detailed-overview-devices-indications-and.