Apr 3, 2014

An Experement in Notifications with Bio-Connected Devices

I recently acquired a Pebble Smartwatch, and decided to do a little experiment.  A watch has always represented being synced with the human race. Android just announced an update to allow Android to run on a watch. They will even have 500mb of RAM! The less powerful Pebble forwards notifications to one's wrist, buzzing. It truly is an innovative product. Now the whole internet, the vast majority of the human race, will be instantly assessable on one's wrist. The psychological effects will be substantial! As a designer this is what I focus on...
I've worn a watch all my life, and almost never take it off. I think it's a statement, perhaps about the un-trustworthiness of mobile devices. Casio even makes some cool solar powered watches that have a compass and moon phases! But Pebble is different, it tethers via Bluetooth to my phone. Being waterproof and having 3 days of battery, I can wear it constantly. But after a week I found it rather annoying.

There is a stressful reaction that is created when being constantly connected to everyone, all the time. The ability to disconnect is extremely important for the human psyche. Today the interfaces for managing notifications from a myriad of devices hasn't been very developed. Everyone reacts differently, that's why the system for managing notifications in our digital ecosystems is extremely important.
What notifications we get will be heavily dependent on what we're doing and how we're feeling. Bio-connected devices in our digital ecosytems will have to manage this very carefully so a negative stress response isn't induced. I have a lot of faith that this will come in time, likely with Artificial Intelligence.

For now, I will stick to my Analogue Luminox dive watch, or my Casio Solar Mudman. Technology and humans must maintain a balance, and for now, I prefer to disconnect!

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