Wear Next: An Exploration into the Future of Wearable Technology

Davis, Rebekah M. & Gomez, Rafael E. (2015) Wear Next: An Exploration into the Future of Wearable Technology. Artisan Gallery Fortitude Brisbane, Brisbane, QLD.

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Technology is increasingly infiltrating all aspects of our lives and the rapid uptake of devices that live near, on or in our bodies are facilitating radical new ways of working, relating and socialising. This distribution of technology into the very fabric of our everyday life creates new possibilities, but also raises questions regarding our future relationship with data and the quantified self.

By embedding technology into the fabric of our clothes and accessories, it becomes ‘wearable’. Such ‘wearables’ enable the acquisition of and the connection to vast amounts of data about people and environments in order to provide life-augmenting levels of interactivity. Wearable sensors for example, offer the potential for significant benefits in the future management of our wellbeing. Fitness trackers such as ‘Fitbit’ and ‘Garmen’ provide wearers with the ability to monitor their personal fitness indicators while other wearables provide healthcare professionals with information that improves diagnosis.

While the rapid uptake of wearables may offer unique and innovative opportunities, there are also concerns surrounding the high levels of data sharing that come as a consequence of these technologies. As more ‘smart’ devices connect to the Internet, and as technology becomes increasingly available (e.g. via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth), more products, artefacts and things are becoming interconnected. This digital connection of devices is called The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). IoT is spreading rapidly, with many traditionally non-online devices becoming increasingly connected; products such as mobile phones, fridges, pedometers, coffee machines, video cameras, cars and clothing. The IoT is growing at a rapid rate with estimates indicating that by 2020 there will be over 25 billion connected things globally.

As the number of devices connected to the Internet increases, so too does the amount of data collected and type of information that is stored and potentially shared. The ability to collect massive amounts of data - known as ‘big data’ - can be used to better understand and predict behaviours across all areas of research from societal and economic to environmental and biological. With this kind of information at our disposal, we have a more powerful lens with which to perceive the world, and the resulting insights can be used to design more appropriate products, services and systems. It can however, also be used as a method of surveillance, suppression and coercion by governments or large organisations. This is becoming particularly apparent in advertising that targets audiences based on the individual preferences revealed by the data collected from social media and online devices such as GPS systems or pedometers. This type of technology also provides fertile ground for public debates around future fashion, identity and broader social issues such as culture, politics and the environment.

The potential implications of these type of technological interactions via wearables, through and with the IoT, have never been more real or more accessible. But, as highlighted, this interconnectedness also brings with it complex technical, ethical and moral challenges. Data security and the protection of privacy and personal information will become ever more present in current and future ethical and moral debates of the 21st century. This type of technology is also a stepping-stone to a future that includes implantable technology, biotechnologies, interspecies communication and augmented humans (cyborgs). Technologies that live symbiotically and perpetually in our bodies, the built environment and the natural environment are no longer the stuff of science fiction; it is in fact a reality. So, where next?...

The works exhibited in Wear Next_ provide a snapshot into the broad spectrum of wearables in design and in development internationally. This exhibition has been curated to serve as a platform for enhanced broader debate around future technology, our mediated future-selves and the evolution of human interactions.

As you explore the exhibition, may we ask that you pause and think to yourself, what might we... Wear Next_?















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ID Code: 94523
Item Type: Book
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Wearable Technology, Design and Technology, Art Exhibition, Design Exhibition
ISBN: 9781922216908
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > DESIGN PRACTICE AND MANAGEMENT (120300) > Industrial Design (120305)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright Beck Davis, Rafael Gomez and Joel Matheson, 2015
Copyright Statement: No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the permission of the authors. Unless otherwise indicated, all images are courtesy of the designers/artists.
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2016 02:03
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 23:50

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