Let’s be clear about technology for some time: Concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Machine Learning and AR / VR are pretty cool, but until their use cases can be converted from novelty to necessity, they will just remain a fad. This is the fundamental upon which concepts such as Lifelogging and The Quantified Self are based, and I’m seeing things go from “Oh look, I ran 5kms today” to “I ran 5kms today, but my pace fell at this particular stretch, owing to which I exerted myself. Maybe if I work on my pace for this stretch, I could run 8kms tomorrow.”
Surely, there’s an upper limit to the information that can be gleaned from one parameter?
Heart rate data, for all this time, has proven to be beneficial in providing data regarding a person’s blood flow and heart conditions. But then, there’s the work Cardiogram is doing. Through intensive heart rate tracking, which takes into account a neural network built around the heart rate data of millions of Apple Watch users, Cardiogram hopes to be able to diagnose and predict a host of conditions, just from heart rate data.
Tech addiction is the new point of discussion in mainstream media with companies like Facebook, discussing how they can make their user’s time more productive. With social apps like Facebook and Snapchat deploying addictive social feedback loops to grab people’s attention. On the other hand, smartphone users are trying to use all sorts of timers and Quantified Self tools to improve the way they spend their time. But are these timers or tracking tools enough to help people?
If there’s one thing the smart-glasses sector needs to put behind itself, it’s the term ‘Glasshole’. About five years back, when Google launched their Augmented Reality product Glass, it brought the prospect of smartphone-esque controls, without actually having to take the phone out of the pocket. Agreed, we had smart watches much before techie eye-wear made headlines, but Google Glass as a concept was new, novel, and pretty neat.
With Apple’s latest iOS updates, it is getting evident that digital health is one of their top priorities moving ahead. There have been plenty startups that have been building up mHealth solutions but only few of them have managed to get real scale and the medical community behind them. Moving ahead from simple health wellness solutions to actual medical care is the real promise of mHealth. Apple is taking this very seriously with their Apple Watch and their Health app. With iOS 11.3 Apple is bringing in Health records to their app in collaboration with 12 healthcare clinics/hospitals.
CES 2018 drew to a close a couple of weeks back, and the spotlight was on Artificial Intelligence, smart cars, and random gadgets which forced us to raise an eyebrow and ask, “Why even?”.
But more interestingly, the future of sports and fitness tech was showcased in the form of new sensors and trackers. Gamification and AI are definitely upping the ante as far as wearables and The Quantified Self is concerned. Connected fitness has some new players who are making some very impressive headlines, and embedded sensor tech is the biggest driver in this sector.
With smartphone addiction becoming a major theme of discussion around tech companies, it is interesting to see how Apple & Facebook are being blamed for this issue. Especially with children concerned, it is important for parents to set a limit on their phone usage and apps that they use. Apps like Facebook are built with feedback loops which lead to social FOMO. Today product designers are building apps with these feedback loops in mind, making people want to come back to their apps.
There are two ways wearables can truly evolve: one, by incorporating AI, and two, by becoming more non-obtrusive.
Wrist bands and smartwatches were (and still are) in vogue since 2014, but let’s face it – there’s only so much that OEMs and users can accomplish with a device on the wrist. It hinders user interaction with phones, might not create pathways for more seamless experiences, and is getting too common (to the point of being hackneyed, perhaps?).