WORK / Expertise WearableTechnology and AI – The Future of Human Augmentation

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Wearable technology has become a familiar concept, with more and more of us donning smart watches and fitness trackers. However, its potential goes way beyond simply counting steps or monitoring your sleep. It has the potential to lead the way in expanding human ability, performance, and wellbeing. In effect, wearable technology is a key element in unlocking the next generation of human augmentation.

Design Partners’ report on the future of human-AI interaction explores the future of human augmentation and the possibilities it brings. By incorporating technology, sustainability, and desirability we are able to predict an ideal vision of the future.

How we manage our own health is a hot topic and we’re already seeing the transforming power of AI in this area. There are many wearable devices that can monitor our health in real-time like the AI-driven Oura Ring’s initial studies indicating its ability to detect common COVID-19 symptoms three days earlier with 90% accuracy; Nurvv’s connected running insoles, or our Viscero ECG vest that smoothly integrates into the user’s life, allowing it to prevent illness before it even happens.

Futurologist Ian Pearson predicts that in 10 years we could have a much better understanding of our own health, every minute of the day. The more data AI has, the more it can predict outcomes. We are shifting from the notion of an annual physical check-up, into continual monitoring for a more personalised experience. Wearable technology is a key component of that shift and the drive towards connected healthcare.

At Design Partners our mission is to elevate human potential, and developing wearable technology is one of our key areas of expertise. We recently worked with Danu Sports to create a sports wearable that uses biomechanics to offer tailored insights, helping to prevent injuries and track athletic performance. VibrisPro enables heads-up navigation for cyclists with integrated haptic guidance. It provides upcoming directional instruction through a series of haptic pulses located on the back of each hand. Viscero ECG Vest aims to revolutionise heart monitoring – all you need to do is put on a t-shirt! What we are now seeing is a fascinating blurring of the lines between health, sport and everyday life. Wearables are allowing people to live life as they ordinarily would, whilst still collecting potentially life-saving data.

This is an important stepping stone towards a seamlessly integrated tech-future, but how do we make sure that future is the one we desire? As designers, it is our duty to empathise with users, the people who will experience AI. We need to understand the potential of technology while understanding the motivations of users, their needs and behaviour. Wearable technology, when meaningfully applied, will ultimately elevate people’s potential.

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