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Jun 9, 2015

Many science fiction movies have depicted how a particular technology seems good in the beginning but then goes rogue and becomes an uncontrollable anti-humanity threat that needs to be destroyed. No wonder new technology can be met with skepticism and fear! And it’s a tech company’s job to overcome that fear.

Today, there are electronic prosthetic limbs and virtual reality goggles that let us explore the surface of Mars from the safety of our own planet. What’s perhaps most amazing is that a lot of technological advances are within reach of the average person. In fact, maybe the phrase "within reach" is understated because these technologies can actually be worn by the user. "Wearable technology" is a large, rapidly growing sector that we will surely be hearing more about in the months and years to come. Here are two wearable technology products that are doing a successful job at blending the human experience with technology in a way that will hopefully help us overcome our technology anxiety.

GoPro, Inc. makes high-quality video cameras that are small enough to be attached to people and objects and go places that a traditional camera could not go. If you haven’t watched the GoPro Hero commercial, I recommend that you do. I’m not saying you should buy the product, even though it does a pretty good job of making you want one, but the video depicts how technology can record the intimacies of the human experience. It’s an uplifting video that shows humanity at its best and strongest. Maybe ordinary people can do extraordinary things and what better way to share it than to wear a GoPro camera?

The next wearable technology that is on many people’s minds is the Apple Watch. When it was first announced, I thought to myself, “Why do I need another tech gadget that virtually does the same things as the phone that I already have?” Then I read a blog in The New York Times from someone who wore the watch for seven days and it made me realize, I really don’t have any technology like it. The most interesting part for me was that the watch will pulsate differently for events such as a text from your kid vs. a friend’s post in Facebook. Pretty soon, like Pavlov's dogs, your brain starts to recognize what those signals mean without your having to think about it. For example, if a person works at a computer all day, they can set an alarm to remind them to stand up every hour and take a break. The brain automatically begins to recognize the alert pulse and the person automatically stands up without thinking about it.

Wearable tech companies hope to convince the public that being "connected" to the technology can enhance the human experience. By appealing to people’s “human” nature, these innovative companies are making technology less scary and their products more tempting to the average consumer.

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Marc Fogarty

Marc Fogarty, Audit Partner within Technology and Life Sciences Group, and member of the firm's Public Companies, Cleantech and International Services Groups. Marc is experienced in public accounting, serving public and private organizations and has presented on IFRS to professional groups.

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