It's Gadgets Galore
Posted on March 31, 2014

What fun! I have just finished the Science section of the NY Times for March 11 and I don't know when I have said to myself so many times, "What will they think of next?"

It was a broad review of all the devices and apps that aim to monitor activity, human and animal, in an effort to make us more healthy, more knowing and more fit. Do they work?

I read about websites designed to stave off mental decline by keeping the brain alert, about apps to monitor our sleep, and about an app for couple counselling to help a quarreling duo figure out why they are arguing, it offers a preventive text message that might ease the situation. There is a green helmet light to assure anxious bystanders that the athlete is really okay after that collision, a dog activity monitor to check on what Fido does when you are absent and an app to track how much walking your dog walker actualy does with Fido.

I could go on and on about a bicycle app to measure calories burned and about the treadmill desk which permits one to walk through the workday and so burn calories.

It is all fascinating to read about, worth a Buck Rogers moment or two, and then reality sets in. In the end, everything boils down to the fact that no app or device will change our behavior. That is up to us. It is our responsibility to stop texting and to speak to those sitting across the table. (I was touched by the research that children of all ages complain about being unable to get the attention of parents who are texting and emailing at home. They want eyeball to eyeball interest in them.)

Nothing is quite equal to the human will that decides, "Yes, I will." Maybe you'll need a helpful device or maybe you can go cold turkey as a "tech nudie". I love that term. It means those of us not wearing an electronic device!

So, humans all, be alert, whatever promises the gadget maker offers, the result is still up to you to make the rubber hit the road. Devices can help, but the greatest human power is still our will that decides "yes" or "no".

Warning: I personally hope you don't invest in the bicycle app which powers your phone as you ride and talk. Please remember us poor pedestrians!


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