Finally, a Real Reason to Use Wearable Technology

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Feb. 28 2014 4:42 PM

Finally, a Real Reason to Use Wearable Technology

Let us rejoice: Programmers have finally discovered a legitimate reason to use wearable technology.

At Netflix's Hack Day last week, one intrepid group of programmers built a system that would link your FitBit (or, presumably, any fitness tracker) to your Netflix account. Why would this be useful? Because, using the tracker's sensors, Netflix can automatically pause whatever you're watching if the FitBit detects you're asleep. (Though, as Seth Stevenson observed in his Slate column on fitness trackers, they are not always reliable at detecting if you're asleep or just resting.) Whenever you wake up and resume your American Horror Story binge, you can choose to start at your last bookmark or your "sleep bookmark."

Advertisement

Watch:

"As a FitBit user falls asleep, the FitBit registers data to its API that can be collected by any connected device," the video explains. "By using this prompt, Netflix can smoothly fade back audio and offer on-screen prompts for when the user may awaken." Unfortunately, since this was part of an internal hackathon, it's unlikely to come to fruition.

Though I wouldn't go so far as to call it the most nightmarish facet of human existence, as PC magazine and Popular Science do, falling asleep while watching Netflix and then trying to find your place in Breaking Bad the next day can be mildly inconvenient. And what is wearable computing for if not to quell the mild inconveniences of the well-to-do?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Emma Roller is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 1:11 PM This Company Wants to Fight World Hunger With Flies 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 1:01 PM Can Activists Save Reyhaneh Jabbari?  
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 1:13 PM The Essence of Gender Roles in Action Movies, in One Supercut
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.