"The headpiece utilizes two shotgun microphones interfaced with a handheld audio recorder. The microphones, placed ear distance apart, capture stereo audio recordings. Binoculars attached to the beer drinking helmet allow for hands free magnification. Hot glued leaves conceal you when you need it most."
Taking advantage of consumers insatiable appetite for digital technology that promises untethered efficiency and productivity, the constant feelings of inadequacy perpetuated by conspicuous consumer culture, and the corporate extortion of the American individual's illusory obsession with "self-improvement", wearable technology is another avenue for customers to spend the money burning a hole in their wallets.
Bringing into question our relationship with emergent wearable technology and its promise to revolutionize our interactions with the world around us, "Immersive Birdwatching" illustrates a hypothetical (and dysfunctional) interface that enhances the observation of birds.
Advertised to us on the internet and billboards alike, digital consumer electronics are more often than not a waste. They are designed and fabricated to turn manufacturers a profit, not enhance a user's quality of life. They are often of poor quality and become quickly outdated, even obsolete. Wearable tech like health trackers and smart watches have already begun joining the likes of the iPod nano in the kitchen junk drawer, eventually joining the landline phone in the Tupperware in the basement, destined to find its final resting place in the local landfill.
Environmental and social repercussions aside, there is no disputing the benefits of technological advancement, that digital technology has revolutionized how we gather data and share information. As foreseen in Vannevar Bush's prophetic "As We May Think", digital systems revolutionized our ability to conduct scientific research. The scientist has since been liberated, allowing computational systems to do the heavy lifting when it comes to data collection, archival, as well as facilitation of research methods and practice.
A problem persists however in that the same technology that has enabled us to further our research and further understand our natural environments are now being marketed and sold to consumers as if they are necessary to function in every day life. From everything and anything to staying on track of personal appointments to appreciating the natural world around us, the cyborg is no longer of mythology but fact of the matter. We are continuously, and will continue to be bombarded with advertising preying on the fear that we will not be able to compete in our modern world with out digital interfaces vibrating the skin.
Whether wearable tech may be just another example of humans desire to dominate nature and for corporations to commodify it, or whether it is another product masterfully marketed to consumers to suppress inadequacy or temporarily pacify the American's addiction to instant gratification and gluttonous consumption of electronic goods is to be seen. What is clear, however, is that it is up to us to decide if we want it mediate our perception of the external world, to dictate our lives.