Just last week, Japanese automaker Nissan released a teaser for the wearable computing driver lenses it plans to show off at the Tokyo Motor Show, beginning November 23rd. An assumed challenger to Google Glass, the 3E’s promotional video alludes to a physiological connection; jarring imagery of neural connections, expanding alveoli (lungs) and pulsing veins cue superhuman capabilities. As of yet, the teaser is simply that—with no real specifics as to the features or amplified experience the device may deliver.
This isn’t Nissan’s first foray into biometric electronics. The 3E teaser comes right on the heels of a September buzz around its new Nismo watch, designed to connect vehicle and user like never before. In addition to notifying you of any maintenance or attention the vehicle may need, the watch has biometric sensors that monitor heart rate, skin temperature and even brain activity. Whether you’re in a crash, encountering dangerous road conditions or feeling drowsy behind the wheel, this smart device claims to be designed to respond.
Be it the 3E, Google Glass, Apple’s next bionetic innovation or the next player to emerge on the scene, futurists look at these as signposts—crude glimpses of the world to come. Regardless of whether these technologies are in the concept phase or in beta testing, these are the opportunities for the wide-eyed to begin to form perspective and purview on the future.
Imagine a future state where the aesthetic and nature of media is dramatically impacted by a truly real-time landscape—one where each moment is documented simultaneously from different vantage points. It’s a world where evermore instantaneous, seamless sharing requires brands to respond to an accelerated, viral nature of trends as connectivity amplifies their dissemination. Imagine a world where photographic proliferation is combined with smart technologies and facial recognition: it’s a world where successful brands are hyper-conductive, designed for real-time consumer influence and primed for experimental (even impromptu) intersection.
At the very least, the 3E and Google Glass point to a future where we’re always in front of the lens—it’s a camera-saturated prospect. It’s an incredibly hyper-connected scenario where both online and offline privacy is a premium. Imagine a world beyond whistle-blowing where everyone is a passive aggregate of what’s happening around them—where the world sees through our eyes and we through theirs. It is a world Marshall McLuhan predicted in 1962 saying, “The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness.”
In a future state where brands define the very lenses through which we view the world, we must question how this brand-defined view will influence our values, beliefs and opinions. In a state where virtual and physical realities are mended, we must assume brands offering this new digital vantage point will influence how we navigate it. Are you ready for Human 2.0?
Bryan Goodpaster is a creative director at LPK, where he is often called upon for his non-traditional approach and strategic consultancy—helping crack wicked brand problems and strategic conundrums for many category-leading brands. Part semiotician, part psychologist, Bryan has known what you really meant by that for over 15 years.
Follow Bryan on Twitter at @bryangoodpaster.