New market forecasts seem to come out daily, and all of them project rapid growth for the wearable Health Tech industry. Yet a guest post on Venture Beat by Stuart Karten of Karten Design raises an intriguing and compelling perspective on where this market may really be headed.
Karten’s premise is that wearable technology makes it easy to use or put away, which runs counter to the concept of the “quantifiable life” that continuously gathers biometric data and other information that can then be analyzed and mined for insights that could help both the individual user and the population on the whole. Wearables are an important first step, but Karten advocates a class of devices that he calls “invisibles.” Not only do these devices disappear from view, but they also disappear from the user’s awareness. You don’t have to be tethered to a smartphone app that constantly prompts you to pay attention to this information. Instead, the sensors and controllers and communications devices will work together seamlessly in the background, delivering the information required to initiate and direct action for the user and his or her healthcare support services.
“We are working on projects in which minimally invasive sensors are implanted into the human body and the biometric data is seamlessly connecting to a mobile device,” writes Karten. “Medical device innovators are betting millions of dollars on the belief that invisibles will change behavior, help people adhere to new treatments, and create a better dialogue between caregivers and patients.”
Is this a brave new world where cybernetics become even more closely symbiotic with human life forms? Are fitness bands the first step in our inevitable assimilation into some health and medical Borg? Do the potential benefits outweigh the risks? Are you ready to embrace this new technology, or would you prefer to keep your body in a more traditional isolation from communication with the outside world?