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Transcript: How Wearable Sensors Expand Human Potential by Lauren Constantini

So let me tell a little bit about the most connected man in the world. His name is Chris Dancy, and on any given day, he’s wearing 20 or 30 wearable sensors. They’re connected to his body, they’re connected to his house. They’re connected to his dog. And when he was being interviewed, he started talking about a time in his childhood, and he got very emotional. And at that moment, all the lights in his house started flickering. And he stopped what he said, and he closed his eyes, and he started the sentence over again and told the story in a different way. That was the wearable sensor that he’s been using to try to keep his tension down and his emotional level more intact.

He also was wearing a wearable sensor that, whenever he loses his temper at home, classical music starts playing throughout the house, so that he knows to take a step back, and reanalyze what he’s saying and how he’s handling the situation. He also has a sensor in his bedroom that can tell him the exact air temperature and air flow that will provide him with the soundest night’s sleep. So in the process of all these improvements, he also lost over 100 pounds.

Now, he didn’t do this with an activity tracker or a nutrition app. He learned through all these wearable sensors that his calorie intake was directly correlated with the people he was with and the lighting in the restaurants where he went. So, by changing these two triggers, he was able to lose a hundred pounds without even dieting. And he would never have known these triggers if he weren’t tapping into these technologies.

So Chris is, of course, trying to find a better version of himself, which we all are for us, but we’re also using technologies to find better versions for others. There are now activity and monitors for babies, that will tell us when their diaper is wet, if they’re breathing normally throughout the night, and even some early indicators of autism. So, with technologies like this, we become better parents.

There’s a shoe that Alzheimer’s patients can wear, that tracks the number of steps they take, and when they reach outside of the perimeter of the home, an alert is sent to their caretaker, letting them know that they may be wandering a little bit too far away. So, with this technology, we become better caretakers.

And then, there are the pheromone sensors. Yes, pheromones, those wonderful chemicals that we all produce and secrete, and our direct correlation with romantic compatibility. Well, scientists are developing pheromone sensors which will compare your pheromones with everyone else’s in the room, so that you can beeline directly over to your soul mates and never have to sift through those Match.com profiles ever again. And so, with this technology, we become better mates.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we all go out and wear twenty sensors for the next five years, but think about these technologies as training wheels, to allow us to improve our lives in many different ways. So, about one-third of consumers are abandoning their wearable sensors within six months of using them, and it’s not due to them losing interest. Behavioral modification is occurring. They can then remove those sensors, removing the training wheels, and they maintain that enriched life that that technology enabled them to have.

And really, all these technologies are doing are three basic premises that we’re all sort of searching in these lives these days: To be more mindful of our bodies; to be more aware of the surroundings that affect our lives; and to be more present in this world. And so technology is allowing us to become more human in these ways.

Our bodies have been radiating data since the beginning of time, and now those data are in our hands. Not only can we become healthier and more productive, but we can become better parents, better caretakers, better lovers, better humans. We all hear that we’re only using about 10% of our human capabilities, so our future selves can be ten-fold better than our current selves. And this indicates humanity with potentially enhanced, natural capabilities.

Now, to some, this may be a scary prospect, but to others, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. What might be possible if you can use technology to expand your opportunities and ability to be human beyond what you thought was possible? Are you taking advantage of these training wheels?

Thank you.

 

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