Wearable Tech Expands Human Potential | Lauren Constantini | TEDxMileHigh

Translator: Leonardo Silva
Reviewer: Mile Živković Ours bodies are radiating data. Constantly radiating data. But, for the most part,
we ignore those data that our bodies are trying
to communicate to us, until something goes terribly wrong. We wake up one morning
with a sore throat and an achy back, and our body is telling us:
“You haven’t been taking care of me!” And it’s not until then do we start
thinking about getting more rest, drinking more water, taking our vitamins. Or our doctor calls us and says,
“Your lab results came in. Your cholesterol levels
are through the roof!” And it’s not until we get that bad news that we start paying attention
to the food we eat, or the exercise that we get. So we ignore a lot of the data
that our bodies are radiating, but, with the advent of wearable sensors, we now have dials
and guages, and trackers that are collecting all the data
that our bodies are radiating, and allowing us to analyze it in real time and make changes in our lives
at the most basic human levels. We typically think of technology
as something that separates us from being human, but I ask you to think about technology
as a way of expanding our humanness. What might be possible if you could learn,
from the data your body is radiating, how to make the most of your body
and your mind? What would you do with that power? Well, the age of the quantified self
is upon us! Self-knowledge through self-tracking, with technology as the enabler. No longer do we have
to use medical equipment and computers to collect
and analyze our data. We’re wearing the sensors that can collect
and analyze that data in real time, and look at the data on our smartphones. So our bodies are radiating data loudly, continuously, honestly, and individually. The data are so loud,
but typically doctors are the only ones that have the speaker to listen to the data that our bodies
are radiating. We have to rely on doctors
to tell us everything, whether our hearts are beating normally to whether that mole on our skin
that’s been worrying us is potentially cancerous. But now, with these wearable sensors, you can simply connect something
to the back of your smartphone, take your own EKG, and instantaneously
get an image of your heart health, without ever having to go to the doctor. There are now apps that are available
that allow you to take a picture of that mole that’s been
bothering you on your arm, and it will algorithmically tell you
whether you’re at risk for cancer, and it will track that mole over time
and let you know whether you should go to the doctor
to discuss it with them. So our bodies are radiating data loudly and now we have the speaker in our hands
to listen to it ourselves. Our bodies are radiating data continuously and that lets us look
at how we change over time, and allows us
to improve ourselves over time. There are now apps available
that can identify events in our lives that can change our mood, and by looking over time
at our good days and our bad days, the days when we’re sad, when we’re happy,
when we’re most productive, we can identify the events
and manipulate our environment to make us more happy,
and less sad, and more productive. Changing our moods is one
of the most basic aspects of being human. And like it or not, the data
from our bodies is as honest as it gets. We all feel that we have
a pretty good handle on our stress levels, but Spire is a device that one wears
that tracks your breathing patterns, and it will identify
when you’re calm and focused, when you’re getting a little bit tense and when you’re getting
completely frazzled. And when you get completely frazzled,
it sends an alert to you and tells you to stop what you’re doing,
take ten deep, cleansing breaths, and it will honestly tell you
when you’re most focused. We also feel that we have a pretty
good idea of when we get enough sleep. We could probably
use more sleep every night, but a good night’s sleep
is pretty easy to identify. But when your wearable sensor tells you that you only reached
deep sleep for seven minutes, and that you woke up twelve times
during the night and you didn’t even realize it, your wearable sensor
is telling you honestly that you can make some improvements
in your life on how to get deeper sleep. And finally, the data that’s radiating
from our bodies is individual as it gets. The data radiating
from your body is very different than the data radiating from your body. For instance, every woman
has a monthly cycle, and within one normal woman
and across all women, that cycle changes very subtly each month, and fertility changes each month. OvuRing is a device that a woman wears that continuously tracks
those changes every month, and when she’s most fertile,
it sends an alert to her smartphone. (Laughter) Now, this is a wearable sensor
that is empowering women to decide when to conceive a child, the most primitive aspect
of being a human. So let me tell a little bit about the most
connected man in the world. His name is Chris Dancy,
and on any given day, he’s wearing 20 or 30 wearable sensors. They’re connected to his body,
they’re connected to his house. They’re connected to his dog. And when he was being interviewed, he started talking about a time
in his childhood, and he got very emotional. And at that moment, all the lights
in his house started flickering. And he stopped what he said,
and he closed his eyes, and he started the sentence over again
and told the story in a different way. That was the wearable sensor
that he’s been using to try to keep his tension down and his emotional level more intact. He also was wearing a wearable sensor that, whenever he loses
his temper at home, classical music starts playing
throughout the house, (Laughter) so that he knows to take a step back, and reanalyze what he’s saying
and how he’s handling the situation. He also has a sensor in his bedroom that can tell him
the exact air temperature and air flow that will provide him
with the soundest night’s sleep. So in the process
of all these improvements, he also lost over 100 pounds. Now, he didn’t do this with an activity tracker
or a nutrition app. He learned through all
these wearable sensors that his calorie intake was directly
correlated with the people he was with and the lighting in the restaurants
where he went. So, by changing these two triggers, he was able to lose a hundred pounds
without even dieting. And he would never have known
these triggers if he weren’t tapping
into these technologies. So Chris is, of course, trying
to find a better version of himself, which we all are for us,
but we’re also using technologies to find better versions for others. There are now activity
and monitors for babies, that will tell us
when their diaper is wet, if they’re breathing normally
throughout the night, and even some early indicators of autism. So, with technologies like this,
we become better parents. There’s a shoe
that Alzheimer’s patients can wear, that tracks the number of steps they take, and when they reach
outside of the perimeter of the home, an alert is sent to their caretaker, letting them know that they may be
wandering a little bit too far away. So, with this technology,
we become better caretakers. And then, there are
the pheromone sensors. Yes, pheromones, those wonderful chemicals
that we all produce and secrete, and our direct correlation
with romantic compatibility. Well, scientists are developing
pheromone sensors which will compare your pheromones
with everyone else’s in the room, so that you can beeline
directly over to your soul mates – (Laughter) and never have to sift through
those Match.com profiles ever again. (Laughter) And so, with this technology,
we become better mates. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting
that we all go out and wear twenty sensors
for the next five years, but think about these technologies
as training wheels, to allow us to improve our lives
in many different ways. So, about one-third of consumers
are abandoning their wearable sensors within six months of using them,
and it’s not due to them losing interest. Behavioral modification is occurring. They can then remove those sensors,
removing the training wheels, and they maintain that enriched life that that technology enabled them to have. And really, all these technologies
are doing are three basic premisses that we’re all sort of searching
in these lives these days: To be more mindful of our bodies, to be more aware of the surroundings
that affect our lives, and to be more present in this world. And so technology is allowing us
to become more human in these ways. Our bodies have been radiating data
since the beginning of time, and now those data are in our hands. Not only can we become healthier
and more productive, but we can become better parents,
better caretakers, better lovers, better humans. We all hear that we’re only using
about 10% of our human capabilities, so our future selves can be tenfold better
than our current selves. And this indicates humanity with potentially enhanced,
natural capabilities. Now, to some, this may be
a scary prospect, but to others, this is
an opportunity of a lifetime. What might be possible
if you can use technology to expand your opportunities
and ability to be human beyond what you thought was possible? Are you taking advantage
of these training wheels? Thank you. (Applause)


  1. Nox Dineen said:

    I wish she had at least acknowledged, if not addressed (because time constraints don't allow for it at TED), the incredibly complicated dialogue about privacy that relates to quantified self and lifelogging.

    And anybody who cites that idiotic "we use 10% of our brain" bunk makes me cry. 

    October 30, 2014
  2. Tim Prodanovich said:

    Excellent talk.  And perfectly timed.

    December 11, 2014
  3. tee leaves said:

    I got rid of my smart phone. Feels good to not be a drone. I got a wearable sensor in my brain. They call it a brain.

    December 24, 2014
  4. Samson M said:

    Informative ,apt good

    May 26, 2015
  5. Virgil Delbrassine said:

    I feel like we are trying to watch something true a bunch of mirrors but it's actually right in front of us. Is beeing human about to mean "undertanding yourself thanks to your cellphone? I don't think it is a good direction to take. Any man and woman on this earth has lived all his life beeing himself and building himself reacting to external and internal circumstances so knowing when you are tired, when you sleep good, when you are stressed or finding your soul mate, come on, these are thing you have within you! You know it all! are we going to let ourself ruled by technology rather than by our own nature?

    September 28, 2015
  6. Bhupinder Tube said:

    I think in the future, people could change their whole body (except head) with a robot and live really very long.
    Sensors, in my opinion, are underused. They're cheap and very useful. Eg. Tap Water in public toilets.

    November 9, 2015
  7. Andy Hill said:


    December 29, 2015
  8. Tariq Al Dossary said:

    Nice speech and YES… technology can do a lot especially if we start to know how to use it perfectly…

    February 26, 2016
  9. Grant Wilson said:

    Great overview with wearable technology the interesting thing is more and more companies are making them. I will say this what if there is a wearable device that can do EKGs, Blood Pressure,Breath rate, Fatigue and Moods, would knowing all this give you a peace of mind? only thing is not available in any store.

    November 9, 2016
  10. Simon Oakey said:

    Sorry, but your utopia is a nightmare.

    March 18, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *