Wearables as Augmentation Means: Conceptual Definition, Pathways, and Research Framework

Sesay, Abdul
Steffen, Jacob
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Wearables pervade many facets of human endeavor, thanks to their integration into everyday artifacts and activities. From fitness bands to medical patches, to augmented reality glasses, wearables have demonstrated immense potential for intelligence augmentation (IA) through human-machine symbiosis. To advance an understanding of how wearables engender IA and to provide a solid foundation for grounding IS research on wearables and IA, this study draws from Engelbart’s framework for augmenting human intellect to: (1) develop a conceptual definition of wearable technology as a digitally enhanced body-borne device that can augment a human or non-human capability by affording context sensitivity, mobility, hands-free interaction, and constancy of operation, (2) extend Engelbart’s framework to the sociomaterial domain to account for the emergence of augmented capabilities that are neither wholly social nor wholly material, and (3) propose and elaborate four augmentation pathways —complementation, supplementation, mediation, and mutual constitution—to facilitate IA research.
The Internet of Everything, engelbart, human-machine symbiosis, intelligence augmentation, licklider, wearables
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