Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Oct 2018

Brigadoon Annapolis Transcript, Pt2

Continuing a sharing of the notes which led to our Brigadoon Annapolis lecture on Digital Humanism. View Part 1 of the notes if this is your first exposure to this series.

Constellation of Devices I could be called a modern-day cyborg. Starting with the prescription glasses and going down to the cadaver’s ACL which is nailed into my knee, I have been augmented in a few means. And this isn’t even to mention the advanced sugars, intentionally and unintentionally modified fruits and vegetables making up my diet. This is a talk about digital humanism design however; so what are the augmented parts of me which I’ve had a hand in designing?

I spoke of prescription glasses, however we also have my sunglasses (also prescription). These are made by the company Snap, and have a camera on them enabling me to take 10 second videos or single frame pictures of items at my eye level. Essentially, a memory device a bit closer to my eyes.

While I don’t have them in right now, my ears usually also have a memory-aid device. Oh, you call these headphones or earphones. I call them AirPods, and due to their ability to connect to my watch, phone, and tablet, I’m able to ascribe audial soundscapes to various contexts. Sometimes, that’s background music while working or exercising. Sometimes, that’s speaking with others. Sometimes, its merely recording myself for future reference. I use sound like spatial markers. Sounds enable me to enter or reengineer spaces so that I can navigate time and presence better.

On my left arm is an Apple Watch. Many of use have or have at least heard of the connected watch or wearable technology trend. On my end, the Apple Watch is something of a wellness coach. This is the 5th or 6th wearable of this type. I’ve had three from Polar, one from Samsung, and am on my second Apple device. This one also has cellular capability, so in addition to monitoring wellness, I can also message and call persons, use the digital wallet, and a few other apps I’ve got loaded here.

Also on my left hand is a ring. I’m not married however. This is called an NFC Ring. It uses a very shortwave radio frequency connection to transfer information from the ring to another computing device. In my case, my ring serves as both business card and key.

The right side of my body has only one connected device, it too is a ring. This ring is another wellness tracker, called the Oura Ring. This tracking is a bit different than my Apple Watch in that instead of tasking me with awareness of what I’m doing, its giving me the context of how I’m recovering from what I’ve done. Tracking sleep, HRV, and other metrics, this ring enables me to work alongside others in ways which speak to my stress and energy levels. And also, provides a decent trend map towards what I might or might not have done to design a better lifestyle for myself.