The UK likes the idea of DNA-matched dating and accessing their work devices and homes via implanted microchip

The UK public are ready to welcome some of the more experimental future tech into their lives according to research by the charity Nesta.

Asked to imagine the world in 2036, around a third of Londoners said they would be microchipped to access their work devices and homes, eat meals in pill form and take part in pheromone or DNA-matched dating.

Nesta carried out the research to promote, FutureFest, the charity’s festival which is devoted to radical talks and future-focused debate.

“A flood of new technologies is set to change our daily lives – from self-driving cars to implants, gene testing to augmented reality. FutureFest gives us all a chance to explore, see and feel what’s around the corner so that we can shape a future that fits our needs rather than just being passive observers and consumers,” said chief executive of Nesta, Geoff Mulgan.

pills

As well as backing innovative approaches to security, food consumption and dating, the UK also showed a keen interest in the future of healthcare.

At 60%, over half of the respondents expect technology to improve their future wellbeing, and 77% said that healthcare should be the focus of technological advancement, which is more than double the 29% who think we should focus on space exploration.

Yet despite the UK public’s enthusiasm for technology, the research did reveal some misgivings. More than half of Brits (53%) worry that people will become more and more isolated as a consequence of technology and only 28% expect technology to have a positive impact on levels of employment.

robot-worker

When compared with the rest of Europe however, the UK is clearly a region full of technophiles.

Around a third (31%) of Spanish people believe that technology will mean the breakdown of trust in society; over half (52%) of French think that it will have a negative impact on employment and a third consider robotics to be a threat.

Meanwhile, only 13% of German people were likely to say they would replace meals with pills or pick a love match based on DNA or pheromone compatibility.

FutureFest takes place at London’s Tobacco Dock on September 17 and 18. Tickets are available here.

Fitness tracking belt puts new class of wearable in the spotlight

A new kind of fitness tracker has been successfully funded on Kickstarter. A belt designed to make wearable technology fashionable, the Welt tracks several health statistics and compiles them in order to provide advice on how to better live healthily and manage your fitness.

The device was created by the Welt Corporation, a healthcare tech company that began as a team at Samsung Electronics and has since spun off to become an independent start-up.

The Welt itself was launched on the 30th August and has been fully funded in just about a week, taking advantage of the team’s prior experience in the healthcare tech industry and their aim to, “create products that are at the forefront of innovation while also matching our previously held quality standards.”

The Welt is designed to track three main indicators of health and fitness: waist size, activity and food intake. Using a magnetic sensor embedded in the buckle, your waist size can be tracked in real time by the device and you can monitor your progress over time as Welt tracks sizes from 28 to 44 inches in circumference.

The activity tracking is twofold: steps taken and time sat down. With an embedded pedometer, the number of steps you take during the day can be used to calculate your calorie burn and also monitor your periods of inactivity, measuring the two data sets to ensure both are for healthy durations.

The last factor, food intake, is also measured using the waist sensor. Excess calorie intake can cause the waist to expand and contract over a duration as short as half an hour, variations that the Welt can track to monitor overeating patterns.

Images courtesy of Welt

Images courtesy of the Welt Corporation

The Welt comes into real effect once this data has been curated on the device’s app, which automatically pairs the Welt with your phone, organising personalised health advice onto a single screen.

The app allows you to track your steps, sitting time, caloric intake, distance travelled, and caloric loss either daily, weekly or monthly and will become more fine tuned to your personal health patterns the more you make use of the Welt. That increased usage will also be well served by the device’s long-life battery, able to last up to 20 days depending on usage.

Tech aside, it’s important to consider that the Welt does just look like any other belt you might have.  With each belt made individually and offered in range of styles, the emphasis on making this a piece of fashion as well as of technology is one that may well set the Welt aside from competing tech.

The technological benefits are certainly the focus of the device but by making it an item that is practical to wear day-to-day, the probability of the health benefits actually coming in to play through repeated use is far higher.
The belt, which is set for release in January 2017, is currently doing the rounds at tech shows, with the company courting third party support.