Augmented Ability: Use Tech to Boost Strengths & Mitigate Weaknesses 

The most impactful way technology can enhance our lives is to leverage our human strengths and mitigate our weaknesses. We call this augmented ability. At its center is a focus on human-empathy; good technology understands what people need and helps them address these needs. The hearing-aid to augment hearing ability. The bodysuit to augment the ability of a swimmer to glide through water quickly. The word processor to augment the ability to create documentation. 

While there is growing societal and political discomfort with the impact (and misuse) of technology, augmented ability can be a more positive lens to view how technology can help, not hinder, societal progress. Its applications will enhance our future and improve our quality of life, making things easier, faster and more productive.

Proof Points

Brands Can Make Employees Superhuman. Delta Airlines has partnered with Sarcos to develop the Guardian XO, a full-body wearable exoskeleton to augment the ability of employees’ physical capabilities and increase their safety. The exoskeleton can enable an employee to lift up to 200 pounds repeatedly easily and without strain. It can be applied to job functions such as handling freight, baggage or lifting heavy machinery and parts. The technology is a clear demonstration of the company’s focus on employee wellbeing and safety.

The New Added Benefit of Clothing. Myant is a textile computing company that aims to connect the physical self and the digital world. Its sensors are knitted into textiles that can detect and react to changes in the human body, feeding data to an AI-driven platform. At CES, Myant showcased connected safety footwear, heart health management products, and even a workplace of the future that measures, augments and optimizes the physical and psychological state of office workers.

True Visionary Technology. OrCam’s MyEye 2 helps blind or visually impaired people ``see” via a lightweight smart camera that attaches to a pair of ordinary spectacles. The device aims to increase its wearer’s independence, mobility and quality of life. For example, MyEye 2’s tech - via hand gestures and voice commands -  uses image recognition and AI to read the morning paper, recognize faces of loved ones, identify products while shopping and even figure out whether a seat bench is vacant.

By creating a better connection between the human worker and the AI-enabled connected office, Myant hopes to fundamentally change the way people look at the everyday textile-objects in the workplace ... An office chair is not simply a piece of furniture anymore, but a way to drive productivity, nurture well-being, and stay connected.

Ilaria Varoli, EVP at Myant

Our View

As marketers, we can take inspiration from technology that genuinely enhances our lives. However, we also need to be honest with our intentions. Are we utilizing media, technology and communications to make things easier for consumers? Or are we getting in their way? The brands that can best empathize are the ones that get ahead.

Further Reading

  • CES 2020: A Breakthrough Year for Digital Health Wearables, Extreme Tech

  • Delta’s Vision For The Future Of Flying, Forbes

  • Digital Health Tech and AI Headline CES Las Vegas, Euronews

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