By: Eric Hamblett
Auto companies Ford and GM are allowing software developers to create applications that run on their car infotainment systems. The reasoning for exploring the new onboard technology is marketing driven. Ford and GM want to attract younger buyers, and bleeding the ‘app’ experience into cars allows their product to be an extension of already popular tools. In response to this news, I could not help but think about the popular analogy: “Why can’t we take as good care of our bodies as we do of our cars?”
I began thinking about how marketing driven health-tech companies could use the body as a playground for apps. How could the living experience benefit from internal technology? Putting research aside, what consumer apps could be created and implanted in our organs, blood stream, even hands and feet? Imagine newborns being implanted with Nike+ chips to track physical progress.
The reality is closer than you may think. A company named PositiveID Corporation has already developed an advanced biochip that can monitor health by tracking measurements such as temperature, blood pressure and sugar levels. Yet, the device was pulled in 2007 after identical implants in lab animals caused cancer. Similarly, from a safety perspective Ford and GM cannot allow potentially hazardous apps to entire vehicle systems.
Where and when will we find the balance between healthcare and implanted consumer technology? While there are thousands of medications that pay subjects for clinical studies, I have yet to see one that relies on gamification elements. From tattoos to piercings and plastic surgery, I predict the human race will continue having fun with its body. It will be interesting to see if this creates more reliance on technology or instead pushes it away because of health or information security issues.