Wearables, Take a Hike!
by Susan L. Gerhart, March 1 2018
Synopsis: A group of hikers try out networked, wearable devices to enhance their outdoors experience. Things go wrong.
- Protagonist Jack: – hike leader; dull, well-intentioned techie,
- Jill (co-leader): knows her tech, problem-solver.
- Bob: data-driven, infatuated with his Quantified Self
- Carol: – friendly, routine hiker, has puppy at networked home.
- Ted: — goof-off, awkward, bird-watcher.
- Alice: nervous hiker.
- Max: – Easily gets off track, also has smart home.
- Sue: – quiet, calm lawyer. ,
Man and woman greet each other at picnic table below Big Toe Butte.
Jack: : Good morning, Jill. It looks like your ankle healed nicely after your tumble at last year’s hike up this hill.
Jill: : Yes, and I can hardly see the scar on your head from your Fall, Jack. Remember what the physician assistant told us. We were both dehydrated when we came into Urgent Care after our accidents. She said we should take short drinks every 10 minutes when we’re climbing and a big gulp of water at the top of the hill.
Jack: She was right, Jill, we needed better technology on that hike. This year I got us those new wearable, networked gadgets.
Jill: I’ll yell every ten minutes “ALL SWIG!”. Have you planned our bathroom breaks?
Jack: : Yes, there’s an app for that!
Main Scene: Big Toe Butte
Picnic table at base of Big Toe Butte in background. Bob, Carol, Ted, Alice, Sue, and Max arrive.
Jack: Welcome, fellow ILLO members. Today we’ll hike this magnificent mountain using these wonderful devices Jill is passing around. They are called Gurgle Glasses.
Jill hands out ugly glass frames attached to ear muffs to each hiker.
Jack: First, we’ll hear from Doctor Bob about how Body sensors can tell us the optimum number of bathroom breaks on the hike.
Bob: The Quantified Self movement says we can completely understand our bodies by collecting data. I gave you a bracelet and app to track yourselves all week. Please yell out the number the app shows.
Shouts of 9, 3, undefined, 20000, .
Jack: Thanks, Doctor Bob. It looks like QuantifiedMe.com will get valuable feedback on the accuracy of its prototype. And, you’ll get a commission, right, chuckle,
All Shout: So, how often do we stop to pee
Jack: You agreed to swig water every 10 minutes. We’ll be at the top in 30 minutes. Good luck.
Groans and rush to nearest rest room Hikers reassemble.
Jack: Now let’s get acquainted. Your Gurgle Glasses will read you the biography of another hiker to chum with along the trail.
Hikers put on glasses and ear pieces. A fight breaks out between two hikers shouting cheers for bitter rival Ohio Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines.
Jack: See, we already have a pair of new friends.
The hikers start moving up and down and around simulating a trail.
Carol: OMG, I forgot to fill puppy Snuffy’s water bowl before I left home.
Jill: Smart Home to the rescue, Carol!! Just text the right spigot to refill his bowl.
Carol frantically flicks around her screen.
Carol: The sun is too bright. I can’t find that spigot on the house map.
Jill: It’s too bad you’re using those half-vast Gurgle Sprinkles devices. My Snapple works with Voice so I don’t need to see the screen
Carol pokes furiously at her screen turning on all spigots.
Carol: Oh, Snuffy, I’ll be home soon.
Puppy barks sound from device.
Jill: Snuffy will be fine, but he probably made messes. The noises scared him after you turned on all the water devices at once.
Jack: Wonderful, there’s an important lesson. Set your Smart Home to remind you to fill the water bowl before leaving.
Jill stomps and jiggles her feet.
Jack: Jill, why are you dancing every time you stop walking?
Jill: It’s those Blister Prevention boots I bought after last year’s hiking accident. I can’t adjust the lining liquid. That fluid attracts fire ants. !
Jack: Please don’t remind me about last year’s fiasco.
Yell of pain and struggle.
Jack: That’s Ted. His QuantifiedMe bracelet is stuck in a cactus.
Jill: Here’s the emergency kit. Oh, no, it’s full of Girl scout cookies!
Swearing and cries of pain.
Jack: Ok, Ted is free from the cactus. He will heal quickly. Next hike, let’s make sure we bring the First Aid box. Don’t forget instructions. I’ll take a cookie.
Ted: I saved my bird identification sound app. Does anybody recognize a Peregrine Falcon?
Alice: Oh, no, there’s a rattlesnake at 10 o’clock on my left side! Help!
Jack: Alice, are you using the Snake detector app in Gurgle glasses? It’s buggy! Some sounds set off a false alarm. Ted, please turn off your bird call app.
Jack: Don’t you think this year’s hike is going much better than last year? Look at all the gadget data we’re getting!
Jack: Where’s Max? Gurgle Spy reminded me that he often wanders off track.
Maxis somewhere off trail.
Max: That’s awful! Some geo-cachers have stomped this beautiful wild mushroom patch.
Jack: Max, we need you here.
Max returns with brown bulbs (a deadly mushroom).
Max: Look at these ‘Amanitas’! I’ll make a nice Asian omelet when I get home.
Max pulls out his glasses and starts speaking into them.
Max: Siri,or Alex, or whoever’s in there, beam me home to my Wired Casa network!
Synthetic Voice: Good morning Max, this is MyFriggingApp. How can I help you?
Max: How many eggs are in my refrigerator?
MyFriggingApp: You have two left. Would you like to upgrade your Amazon drone to deliver a dozen eggs before noon?
Buzzing noise then.
MyFriggingApp: Max, Gurgle Health noticed that you had a 3-day bout of diarrhea after this hike a year ago. I’m sending a mushroom identification chart to Jack and Jill.
Max: no, wait!
Everyone’s device goes off loudly, then crashes. Hikers reboot.
MyFriggingApp: Sorry Max, your Wire Casa has reported this feature Interaction error to Gurgle-Cares. Please repeat what you wanted.
Max stuffs the device into his backpack and curses the heavens.
Jack: That feature would have been really cool, if it worked. We’re almost to the top. I see Big Toe from here.
Jill: I’m looking forward to a nice cool drink from the well, just like the Urgent Care doctor ordered. Then, I’ll splatter myself to cool down.
Top of Hill
Hikers all reach the top, circling a package swinging off a tree branch.
Jack: Oh, no, somebody moved the well faucet. Some geo-cachers left a logic puzzle telling us the new location.
Jill unwraps the paper and starts to read the puzzle. Sue is sitting quietly with Indian flute songs wafting from her earpiece.
Jill: Anybody know how to solve these puzzles?
Sue: I can! We practiced these puzzles to take the Law School Aptitude Test. That was long ago before The Great Trickster jailed lawyers.
Sue, pulls out a keyboard, types, while other hikers stand around.
Sue: Voila! This says the well faucet is at
N 34° 32.175′ W 112° 34.955′ — Didn’t we pass that on the way here?
Jack: I declare this trip a great success! we made it to the top safely. We learned so much! And there was scenery, too!
Hikers clap tepidly. Their devices all rattle with some message.
Jill: I’ve just sent you the ILLO evaluation form. Please fill it out while we’re resting.
End of Hike
Hikers tromping down to the bottom, back at the picnic table. Hikers head for rest rooms, leaving Jack and Jill.
Jack: Wasn’t that cool? We tested many devices on real humans in tough terrain. ? I think everyone liked this hike.
Jill: Several evaluations ask for Sue to teach us how to solve those logic puzzles. One person suggested you lead a nursery rhyme class.
Jack walks over to his Segway.
Jack: Look what I have here, the latest Segway model with autonomous steering. It recognizes all kinds of object in the street. I can even nap on the handles while I cruise home safely. Bye, See you next year!
Jack waves as he wobbles off down the roadway while Jill watches. Soon comes a blood curdling animal snarl and a human scream.
Jill: Oops, that Segway street object recognizer wasn’t trained for mountain lions.
She pulls off and stomps on her Gurgle glasses, then pulls out a flip phone.
Jill: Hello, 911 we have a big problem at Big Toe Butte.