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News & Blog

2049 - From smartphones to a tech enabled body

In a recent report called ‘O2’s Future of Mobile Life’ some interesting information explored how the human body of 2049 could look – from sensors embedded in the skin to augmented reality (AR) visors.

Why look at this now?

Well, smartphones are continuing to rise and there are now more mobile connections in Britain than people. According to Ofcom there were 92 million connections at the end of 2016, compared to the population of around 65m. Not only do smartphones change the way we live and work, technology could change how we connect with our bodies over the next thirty years. People have been customising phones for years but this report shows the next step in how tech and the human body could work together to connect people and potentially, our customers, in a totally new way.

Tech your body

Who needs a mobile device when you can have a mobile tech-enabled body?

One of the key outcomes of the digital revolution over the first two decades of the 21st century has been convergence – there was a time, for instance, when phones, TVs, wrists watches and music players all did their own separate jobs. But in 2017, no-one considers it unusual that they all do pretty much the same things as each other. And according to Dr Pearson, advances in embeddable and wearable technology has the potential for the human body to replace smartphones by 2049 – that’s only 32 years from now.

When you consider that 32 years ago it was the mid-80s, and take a moment to think about the awe-inspiring technology changes we’ve witnessed since then, it doesn’t feel far-fetched in the slightest.

Sensors embedded in the skin and augmented reality (AR) visors worn at all times will provide the wearable technology to make humans a walking version of everything the handheld device is to us in 2017.

Dr Pearson predicts a mixture of embedded sensors, tiny capsules inside the skin close to nerves and wearable technology – such as visors or contact lenses – will completely change interactions between friends, colleagues and even business. And the good news is that a majority of UK consumers would feel comfortable in their newly tech-enabled bodies.  

Two-thirds (66%) believe advances in technology will make life easier, with just over a quarter (26%) excited about these changes. And perhaps surprisingly, 56% of the population are excited about augmenting and adapting our bodies – revealing that they would be happy to consider implants for practical purposes such as monitoring health (41%) and unlocking doors (23%) rather than for sharing of feelings (10%).

There has been a growing demand in health trackers in recent years, and this appetite is only set to increase. By 2049, sensors below the skin will monitor our health and fitness – telling us when to exercise and the best activities to achieve the best results. In addition, what if technology could tell medical professionals if our health is at risk and even call 999 immediately in an emergency? Technology could save more lives.

In fact, mobile technology in and on the human body will shape the way we interact with each other in the decades to come.

Are you ready?

Posted on 30 January 2018