Becoming Cyborgs: 8 Gadgets That Augment Us

Wearables have grown in popularity over the last few years and will go even further still, according to researchers. The Pew Research Center issued a report that surveyed industry experts. They believe that by 2025 wearables will dominate the mainstream.

Consumers are already buying electronic extensions to enhance their memories through smartwatches to buzz them alerts, and help monitor our health with fitness trackers in the form of heart-rate monitors, watches, and clip-ons. “They say the upsides are enhanced health, convenience, productivity, safety, and vastly more useful information for people and organizations. The downsides: challenges to personal privacy, over-hyped expectations, and tech complexity that boggles us,” wrote Janna Anderson, director of Elon Univeristy’s Imagining the Internet Center and author of the report. Then again, another recent Pew Research study has shown that 53 percent of people think they would be worse off.

Smartphones were the first wearables, in a way, and these devices have become part of us. They’re constantly glued to our pockets and hands, and according to Google’s recent I/O keynote, people check their phones 125 times a day on average. So people may think we’ll be worse off, but the need for easily accessible information has already taken over. Smartphones are just the hubs for our wearables, where fitness devices break down more involved data within apps that help us read our bodies like a stat chart. Other wearables are able to act independently of smartphones. Those products are usually medical grade pieces of technology that help improve quality of life.

Regardless of public fears, the market thinks there’s something to be gained by producing these wearables — whether it’s proof of concept for a later date or as a consumer product. Here are some of the products that augmenting our lifestyles already, for better or worse.