Wearable technology improves quality of life for many
Technological innovations in the past decades have created a plethora of opportunities for people all over the world.
Wearable technology can benefit people who have conditions that require frequent monitoring. For example, patients with diabetes have to monitor their glucose levels and measure their blood sugar in ways that can be painful and inconvenient.
According to Science Daily, this could be done through a “biosensing contact lens capable of detecting glucose levels in patients with diabetes.” The lens allows users to measure their blood sugar with just a blink of the eye and doesn’t obstruct the wearer’s view.
Wearable technology can improve the quality of life in a variety of ways. For people who have lost or have a deficit in a sense, wearable technology can help to restore their senses by providing sensory input. This process is called sensory substitution and works through neuroplasticity.
According to an article by Gershon Dublon and Joseph A. Paradiso, Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt to new stimuli, which is what wearable devices provide.
Although the technology still is in its infancy, researchers have been able to create visual prostheses, which could give a blind person the ability to have a visual perception. One technique uses auditory input to substitute the visual sense.
One of the biggest fears about having data collected from wearables is if insurance providers were to get ahold of it. Wearable technology could change how health insurance companies perceive their customers in ways that could affect how much people have to pay for insurance.
By using data discovered from wearable technology, insurance companies could change their premiums based on how much patients exercise or if they have high blood pressure.
Although personal data being sold might seem like something that purely takes advantage of the users, it does have some benefits. In one case, a GPS-tracking app called Strava, sold its user data to city planners in order to help them determine where they should create new bike lanes.
Location data gathered from wearables can be very useful for city planners since they are able to “know where cyclists are on the road, the paths that runners actually use, and how people use public transportation.”
In order to combat risks of private information being lost or sold, wearable companies should be required to follow HIPAA. According to the Office for Civil Rights, HIPAA is a privacy rule that “establishes national standards for the protection of certain health information.”
To best protect wearable users, wearables that collect the same type of health information should also be required to follow this HIPAA. Wearable technology has great potential for positive change in the world. Because of the benefits, it is crucial that wearable technology be implemented into society in a way that protects users and provides them with a better perception of the world.