Wearable computing is just in its infancy, but already some are taking it to places we wouldn’t have imagined. While there will be many benefits to the technology, there is a real threat of decision making continually being outsourced to technology. Two examples recently caught our attention:
Researchers in Japan have designed an organic, disposable sensor that alerts caregivers when a new diaper is needed on a baby. It is made of a thin plastic film, which is embedded in a diaper for a few cents. (Investor’s Business Daily, paywall)
Sensors that monitor heart rates and body temperature have now been installed in bras to help wearers know when they in the company of a potential true love. The sensors send signals to smartphones with special analytical software, and if the wearer’s natural body signals are determined by the software to be “right,” the bra unsnaps! (Guardian Weekly)
These are just two of the many developments occurring in the growing world of inexpensive sensors. The diaper invention holds the promise of alerting young parents, who may be engrossed in a video game, Pinterest, email responses or catching up with their long lost kindergarten friend on Facebook. While the small cost of the sensor is appealing, a no-cost crying baby may still be the best indicator of a wet diaper – and also offer the opportunity of bonding between baby and caregiver.
If we were to start listing other places where sensors could enhance the “undergarment market,” this blog could quickly become R-rated. But we will say that these are yet more examples of interpersonal decisions being turned over to technology.