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Tech Designed to Make You Disconnect

Now you need more technology to have less technology

Anne Parsons
Tech Designed to Make You Disconnect© 2018 Lotus Carroll Flickr

Now with over 43 million views, chances are you've already seen the short film by Charlene deGuzman, "I forgot my iPhone".

We're all too aware of the irony of being way so universally connected now, through smartphones, tablets and social media, that we can't give our full attention to the people around us. Much of the technology around us focusses on short-term gains, and we are intoxicated by this feed of information. A recent psychology experiment at the University of Virginia revealed that people would rather shock themselves than leave their phones unattended.

A potential antidote to our unbridled dedication to our smart devices, was presented yesterday at Berlin's annual Tech Open Air festival.

Kate Unsworth, CEO of Kovert Designs spoke about her smart jewellery that allows you to take a step back from your phone and live in the moment. Her team has designed high-fashion bracelets, rings and necklaces that can be programmed to alert you by vibrating when you have an urgent call coming in. With this reassurance, you can otherwise get on with your life whether it is at a meeting, or having coffee with a friend. In essence, it's now about getting the right kind of technology to filter out the technology that is overwhelming us, and impacting our lives negatively.

There are other similar products out there - notably from the American duo at MEMI, who have a similar bracelet product that alerts you to incoming calls while leaving your phone in your bag.

Yet the main challenge that lies ahead for these game-changers is to convince people that they are better off without their smartphone on the table. It takes a certain level of self-awareness to realise the negative impact of distracting technology on a person's well-being, and it also takes a certain level of self-control to relinquish the rewardarding stream of messages and calls. Hopefully Unsworth's attention to fashion and design will be enough to push these welcome products into the mainstream.


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