Digital Studies 101

A common resource for Digital Studies at UMW.

Cyborgs, Transhumans, and Wearable Technologies

Digital technology is no longer limited to the desktop computer. In fact, we can now wear on or embed digital technologies within bodies. Devices such as  smartwatches to activity trackers to the latest VR headsets are all examples of wearable technologies. Their applications range from health monitoring and modification to entertainment.

Wearable technologies are simultaneously part of the Internet of Things, while also raising questions about what it means to be a human with digital modification or mediation.

 

Goals

  • Learn about cyborgs, transhumanism, and how these terms may or may not intersect with digital wearable technologies
  • Experience wearable technology.
  • Think critically about wearable technologies in regards to data collection and usage impacts.

 

Suggested Readings

 

Suggested Tasks

  • Consider what differences there are, if any, between cyborgs, transhumans, and users of wearable technologies. What term would you apply to yourself and why?
  • What wearable devices do you use? Your friends? How do these devices reflect historical technologies? How do they represent new technology? How do these wearables interact with other technologies you use?
  • Try out a wearable device (Oculus, GoPro, Pokemon Go Plus, FitBit). What do you notice about the wearable: What does it offer? How does it generate and store data (with you or others)? How does it impact your lifestyle?
  • Investigate the history of wearable devices, or perhaps one device in particular.

 

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