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Designing for Emerging Technologies by Jonathan Follett

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Chapter 8. Embeddables: The Next Evolution of Wearable Tech

ANDY GOODMAN

Technology That Gets Under Your Skin

Wearables are getting all the headlines at the moment, but future headlines will be all about embeddables, tiny computing devices implanted inside your body that monitor your health, improve your functioning, and connect you to the digital world.

In addition to wearables, there is currently a lot of buzz in technology and design circles about living services, the Internet of Things, and smart materials. As designers working in these realms, we’ve begun to think about even more transformative things, envisioning a future in which evolved technology is embedded inside our digestive tracts, sensing organs, blood vessels, and even our cells. Everyday objects will become responsive and predictive, connecting us to the data sphere and reducing the distance between our skin and the surfaces of the technological world around us. As Figure 8-1 depicts, what we see further out, beyond the realm of wearables and implants, is the future symbiosis of the human body and the machine.

In his 2005 book Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies—And What It Means to be Human (Broadway Books), Joel Garreau explores the progression toward a post-human future defined by four converging technologies that are going to radically transform our interaction with the world: genetics, robotics, information, and nanotechnology. He dubs these the GRIN technologies, and they ...

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