Hours spent seated in poorly designed furniture with incorrect posture can lead to back and neck pain, and in some cases RSI. Impossible deadlines, over-reliant on the supposed â€˜efficiencyâ€™ of technology, can lead to long working hours and increased stress levels, while the use of online social networking once we get home continues our obssession with the computer. Time spent in front of brightly lit monitors can suppress natural melatonin production, leading to a lack of sleep. To counter this a piece of furniture could be designed that records when the user sits down, and after an hour alerts the user to take a break. If the user still does not move away from the computer, the chair reconfigures itself, forcing the user to stand, or take a brief break from the work.
Increasing use of technological froms of entertainment have been linked, along with many other causes, to an increase in the number of cases of obesity and high blood pressure in many developed countries. A human powered computer could encourage exercise, and limit time spent in front of the computer, as well as reducing emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. Dopamine produced during exercise can improve the mood of users, banishing some of â€œthe threat of isolation and rejectionâ€?, that leads many to spend so much time in front of their computers.
Use of smartphones and tablet computers has become ubiquitous. They are used all over the house, in the kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. With our increased reliance and investment on these technologies, we have much more to lose if our gadgets are damaged, and our connections cut, with many reporting anxiety and loneliness if disconnected, even for a short time. I propose a series of devices for around the home. An adjustable platform to hold laptops and smartphones in the bathroom prevents accidental drops, keeping them away from water. Using technology to solve arguments at the dinner table, make plans for later, or to look up recipes in the kitchen is common. A cutlery set with conductive tips can double as a stylus, protecting technology from wet, dirty or greasy fingers.
TechnoAddicts suffer from a lack of social interaction that is not assisted by technology, and often from feelings of anxiety and loneliness as soon as the technological connection is severed. Studies have shown that “the spread of emotions seems to require face to face interaction”, providing lasting satisfaction rather than the instant gratification of online social networking. By providing a space where ‘digital natives’ can relate to ‘digital immigrants’, skills and ideas can be shared, while both generations can begin to understand the benefits and disadvantages of their different lifestyles.
An augmented reality viewing device that projects updates and data from various social networking sites, using GPS and facial recognition software to locate and identify people and places of interest. Adjusting the real world to fit with the TechnoAddictâ€™s digital experience could help them to adapt to unfamiliar nondigital social interaction. The glasses incorporate cameras that track eye movement, and display information appropriately using individual transparent OLED screens for each eye to provide a sense of depth.
If all else fails a computer virus could be designed to record time spent on certain time-wasting websites. It could then restrict access to people who have an unhealthy relationship with those websites, slowly cutting down the amount of time allowed on each website, until a healthy relationship with online social networking is resumed.