Yay! Wearables! It's the future! Uh-oh! I'm going to be sick
Something for the Weekend, Sir? What do you do when your brain is missing? Let’s say you put it down somewhere the night before but you can’t remember where and now you can’t find it. Or perhaps you were harmlessly manning the comms link when the bugs tunnelled under your off-world fort, jumped up and sucked your brains out.
I have the answer: get yourself a Muse, “The Brain Sensing Headband”. Just as you can locate those lost car keys by whistling, a mobile phone via a GPS app or your sense of proportion by refraining from signing a petition demanding the dismissal/re-instatement/jihadi beheading of Top Gear presenters, there is now a gadget which can sense whether or not you still have a functioning brain. And it costs only £240!
One assumes that if you buy one, your brain is almost certainly irretrievably missing.
Just joshing: the Muse is an electronic aid for meditation and stress-busting. It just happens to have a silly catchline. I came across it at this week’s Wearable Technology show, and let me tell you, the Muse was one of the more convincing products on offer. The hall was full of nutty ideas and wild claims about tech that you strap on, slip into, stand near or (ahem) insert.
Brain monitoring was only the start. I was particularly intrigued by the range of manufacturers producing “life-sensing” wristbands. I imagine you would want to use this throughout the day to make sure that you are still alive. I mean, there’s no harm in checking, is there? If it fails to sense life at any time, the screen will probably go black – as indeed, one assumes, will everything else.
Almost every gizmo in the show was health-related. To sci-fi fantasists, this must have been massively disappointing. Wearable tech in fantasy literature and visual media tends to be of the kind that assists the wearer in practical tasks, such as night vision, climbing up the outside of buildings or exploding tanks with laser beams.
Even then, wearable tech is a miserable compromise compared with the sci-fi promise of surgically implanted gizmos – cutting edge stuff, quite literally. The reason the latter has failed to make any headway isn’t because The Terminal Man remains mandatory reading at the Ministry of Health but because in the current climate of disposable short-termism, all those gizmos will be obsolete before your stitches have healed.
Picture the scene as a Cyberman strides down a corridor (in space, everyone spends most of their lives in corridors) as a couple of Borg guard drones snigger nearby.
“Ooh look at her, clunking and clanking about,” says one.
“Still got the 1960s head plumbing too,” snorts the other. “Where’re you going in all that armour, love? Off to a joust? A sword needs pulling from a stone?”
The Cyberman stops, turns and attempts to strike up an amiable conversation: “Delete. Delete.”
The Borgs piss themselves laughing: “Who programmed your voice box? The Smash Martians?”
The Cyberman take a few milliseconds to process the information. He might be a legacy product, a bit glitchy and never ran very well, but at least his fluted metallic finish was all the rage when Metropolis came out, not like the Borgs who keep surgically implanting and removing and upgrading their tech, leaving them looking like an army of 3D-printed vacuum cleaners.
Pulling himself up to his full height, he switches into sarcasm mode and delivers his withering reply: “Delete. Delete.” And with that, he storms off in the direction of the sign that reads: "Jousting tournament, all welcome".
Hidden in a dark corner of an adjacent corridor is a slippery T-1000 who in normal circumstances could upgrade himself but is currently having trouble with cloud authentication. Still, he is smooth and shiny and fanbois love him. He is the must-have murder machine. He can run hundreds of social media apps and can accessorise like nothing else in the Delta Quadrant. He will keep going and never ever stop until you have spent all your money. He even still supports MagSafe.
Watching the Cyberman go by, he allows himself a quiet chuckle of superiority: “Heh. Bloody Android.”