A year ago or so, out enjoying a group run, my serenity was suddenly interrupted when the right hip of the runner in front of me began talking.
“You have completed three miles,” it told us. “You are thirty seconds behind your target pace.” Its tone carried the implied command, Step it up, sluggard.
Had this insolent iPhone been mine, it would quickly have found a new home at the bottom of the Huron River. I like high tech just fine but hell if I’m gonna take any crap from it.
But a tidal wave of new technology is sweeping in that promises to integrate so deeply into our lives that one day soon, like Amazon.com and Beyond Meat, we’ll wonder how we got along without it.
We’re moving fast and furious toward a full-blown Internet of Things, where a massive amount of information becomes available in real-time. Can we, the unwashed and untrained, properly interpret and use all this information? That’s yet to be seen.
Regardless, the sports and athletic industry is riding the crest of the wave. “Wearable tech” is barely in its infancy but it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans already own at least one piece of it.
Here’s just a sampling of the stuff these things will track:
- Pace, stride rate, distance
- Heart rate, skin temperature and blood pressure
- Food intake, calories burned
- Sleep – and the effect caffeine has on it
And for those of you who don’t mind abuse from your tech, there’s CARROT, an app that tracks your weight and will admonish you if it’s not good news. Nothing like a little body shaming to start your day!
They are even putting biosensors into bras and underpants.
Intrigued? Want a quick, easy to follow guide to see what kinds of information these gadgets can collect and track for you? Thanks to Brian Gibson for pointing me to this infographic on the Verizon Wireless website. And this page explains a little about how they work.
But at least one annoying piece of tech is on hiatus at the moment. Remember Google Glass? This man single-handedly set it back years. And for that he has my undying gratitude. Read here for the amusing story.
As for me, when I go running I wear my medium-tech basic GPS watch. It does not talk. My deliberately selected rugged flip-style definitely unsmart phone does not talk either. This makes me happy. I want to remain smarter than the stuff I wear. For a little while longer, anyway.
Coming up: I work in the medical device field, where wearable tech is making big, fast inroads. Sound good? The government doesn’t think so. I’ll share with you why progress in this particular area may grind to a halt for a while.