The Future. New advancements in wearable technology are making up for the deficiencies of our physical body by boosting all of our senses. Physical degeneration is a natural part of aging, but new tech could one day keep our quality of life as sharp as it was in our prime — until the day we die (bummer, we know).
Harder, better, faster, stronger
Forget augmented reality. Soon, tech may be truly augmenting our physical life, including:
- Our vision. California startup IrisVision partnered with Samsung to build a VR headset that can help patients with macular degeneration restore their vision. The device uses a Samsung phone to beam images to the parts of the eye that function best.
- Our taste. With funding from the National Science Foundation, University of Maine professor Nimesha Ranasinghe developed a spoon that mimics the taste of salt. It can be used to help older people with their diminishing tastebuds or those that need to wean off salt for health reasons.
- Our hearing. Hearing aid startups such as Whisper and Starkey are developing devices that allow the wearer to turn down background noise or raise the volume of people they’re having conversations with.
- Our smell. For those who have lost their sense of smell, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University developed a sensor that can be placed on a pair of glasses (with an accompanying sensor under the scalp), mimicking the chemical makeup of certain smells.
Additionally, wearables could even make our social lives better. With many elderly individuals suffering from loneliness, researchers at RMIT University and residential care company Bolton Clarke developed a pin that detects when someone is not having enough conversation. It then alerts a family, friend, or social worker to call the person and strike up a conversation.