Dispatch from the Future: The Must-Have Gadgets and Gear of 2053

Smartwatches will still be popular (and fashionable), but instead of just counting reps, they’ll keep close tabs on a wider array of health conditions. New sensors that more accurately monitor blood pressure, glucose levels, and heart rate will feed data into an on-­device AI analysis engine that correlates any irregularities with the historical and real-time health data of family members.

Jennifer Radin, an epidemiologist who has conducted research for Scripps and the Centers for Disease Control, says the data that today’s devices collect lacks detail. In a 2053 world full of cheap and ubiquitous wearables, these devices will not only tell us when we’re getting sick, but data from millions of those wearables will be used to create granular health models of every community, predicting the spread of viruses and allergens and tracking trends on a societal scale. “I hope this empowers the individual to both better understand their own health as well as outbreaks that may be occurring in their community or environmental impacts that are constantly changing,” Radin says.

Alerts will buzz all of your screens and devices whenever your virtual medic discerns it’s time for you to mask up, book a telehealth visit, or request a vax-by-drone appointment. If the news is more serious, we just hope the AI has a good bedside manner. —Boone Ashworth

Disaster Survival

ILLUSTRATION: RICARDO REY

The landscape of 2053 looks like the landscape of today, just more beat up. Forests blackened by fire, rivers muddied by runoff, skies obscured by smoke, and oceans whipped to a frothing violence by a rapidly warming biosphere. Given this grim fate, the technology we use to mitigate the impacts of our own planetary abuse and neglect will surely improve. Wearable air-quality monitors will alert us to the presence of particulate ash, carbon monoxide, mold spores, and pathogens like Covid-51. Our mobile devices will be able to scan food we’re about to eat for traces of microplastics and other potential toxins. Air-filtration masks will be thinner, more breathable, and, thanks to advances in antimicrobial polyester, infinitely reusable.