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."



"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.



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

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

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


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.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.