Can we take a moment to appreciate the technological majesty of the smart watch?
Dick Tracy was an American comic strip that debuted in newspapers in 1931. It starred a hard-nosed detective with a super-fancy piece of technology: a watch with a built-in radio. For decades, that was science fiction. James Bond eventually added a laser to the watch’s list of tricks. In the 1980s, you could find digital watches with a simple calculator function.
Then, in the 2000s, someone decided that phones could be laptop computers. It wasn’t a huge step to make a tiny cellphone and attach a wrist strap.
For the most part, that’s where we are today with smart watches. Tiny supercomputers, worn like clothing.
But we don’t use phones and smartwatches the same way, and each has their own specialties. Since you’re probably reading this on your phone, I’m going to assume you’re already plenty familiar with what modern phones can do.
As for smart watches… they can do a bunch, and you can find/purchase/customize one to do what fits YOUR lifestyle.
One of the first features that got integrated into watches was a pedometer. Wrist-worn pedometers had already been a thing. However, the accuracy was a little sketchy. Some were better than others, but using the sensors and processor of a modern phone, watches are able to do a pretty good job these days.
If you’re even more into health, built in hardware (using lasers! Thanks, 007.) can monitor heart rate and other vital signs and record the data for you. Associated software can even perform analysis. This tech can be used both while waking and during sleeping, tracking how well you slept and noticing when you were deeply asleep or just lying there creating grocery lists and trying to remember that thing you forgot.
You can also tie the two devices together, getting alerts from your phone on your wrist and even using the watch to take calls, check appointments, listen to music, or even trigger your morning alarm when you’re already restless.
I think some models of watch even still tell time.
So what about you? Have you embraced the future on your wrist? Or is all this personal tracking a step too creepy?