Melissa Fassbender, Editor
This month’s Brainstorm asks what design changes must be made in order for wearables to become
adopted by the general population
(Brainstorm, page 24). The consensus?
Smaller, longer lasting batteries. While
I don’t contest these answers, the
reason that I don’t wear my Fitbit has
nothing to do with its size or charging
requirements – it was comfortable on
my wrist, water-resistant, and since I
charge my phone every night, I had no
problem plugging in one more device.
My issue was that the wearble
didn’t provide me with any real benefit. Although I quickly jumped on the
bandwagon, as my dad and sister
decided we would compete to see who
could get the most steps on any given
day (we are a wildly competitive family), the novelty soon wore off, and I
removed my Fitbit for good.
What my Fitbit did tell me was that I
really don’t walk that much some days
(so is the life in a cubicle) and I really
don’t sleep that soundly at night.
But I knew these behaviors already.
The wearable just made it difficult to
deny. Apparently walking to the coffee
machine and back doesn’t force me up
and around as much as I had hoped
(even though it happens regularly, all
day, because of the aforementioned
sleep issues and general caffeine
My other qualm: It didn’t give me
any credit for going to yoga but my dad
racked up his steps by simply rocking in
his La-Z-Boy. Needless to say, my dad
still wears his, although he did take a
short hiatus from the tech in a period of
frustration, as he has less patience with
the device’s charging time.
According to a recent report by Pew
Research Center, 83 percent of experts
say wearable technology will have a
“widespread and beneficial effect” on
the public by 2025. While I don’t doubt
the consensus, I don’t think this “
beneficial effect” will be the ability to count
how many steps we take in a given day.
Recently, I had to wear a Holter
monitor, a medical device that continuously recorded my heart's rhythms
for 24 hours (don’t worry, I am quite
positive any issues stem from my
aforementioned coffee consumption).
However, I was able to avoid a long
stay in a hospital bed because of this
technology. Although the technology
is not new (Norman J. Holter invented
telemetric cardiac monitoring in 1949)
it is an example of where wearables
have an opportunity to really improve
quality of life.
The device let me go along about
my day as normal, but it was very
uncomfortable and bulky. Simple tape
was still used to secure the electrodes
to my skin – apparently some instances
offer no high-tech solutions.
My issues with consumer wearables
persist, and I remain hesitant about the
many expert reports that predict our
future. Yet any time I find myself feeling doubtful about impending technology, I remember that my grandfather
grew up nothing during the Great
Depression, and now he can Face Time
with his grandchildren on his new
iPhone. That is pretty amazing.
What do you think? Will wearables
change our lives for the better? Email
me at Melissa.Fassbender@advantagemedia.com.
70th Year, Issue 4
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Editorial Director | DAVID MANTEY
Editor | MELISSA FASSBENDER
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