Hunched back, clawed hands and second eyelids could be the common features of humans in the future, as human beings become more addicted to smart devices. This was evident from a computer model derived from recent research by a study commissioned by Los Angeles-based telecommunications provider TollFreeForwarding.com.
The Researchers worked with a 3D designer to create images of a “future human” that accounts for all of the problems long-term tech use may cause.
In the project, the researchers developed a 3D model, named “Mindy”.
ARCHED BACK AND NECK
The researchers said that the design and typical user habits of modern tech objects like smartphones and computer monitors have a significant impact on the way one sits and stand. “Consistently adjusting our position to look down at our phone, or up at our office screen, has been proven to strain parts of our body that determine our posture,” said a release from TollFreeForwarding.com.
“We spoke to Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, who outlined which parts of the body are under pressure when using technology:
“Spending hours looking down at your phone strains your neck and throws your spine off balance. Consequently, the muscles in your neck have to expend extra effort to support your head. Sitting in front of the computer at the office for hours on end also means that your torso is pulled out in front of your hips rather than being stacked straight and aligned.”
The link between technology and posture is now well established, and it’s why Mindy’s back and neck (which we’ll go into more detail on later) are leaning over into her chest, the release said.
HOW TEXTING COULD MOLD ARMS
The TollFreeForwarding.com said that a closer look at Mindy’s arm revealed two significant anatomical changes, directly caused by the use of one particular tech device – the smartphone. A recently coined condition, “text claw” occurs after consistently gripping your smartphone, curling your fingers round into an unnatural position for long periods of time.
TollFreeForwarding.com quoted Dr. Nikola Djordjevic from Med Alert Help as saying; “A few years ago, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop, and we now hold the internet in our hands. However, the way we hold our phones can cause strain in certain points of contact – causing “text claw,” which is known as cubital tunnel syndrome.”
Dr. Djordjevic’s explanation for text claw also applies to the other noticeable physical change on Mindy’s arm – 90-degree elbow. Also known as “smartphone elbow”, this is caused by the typical positioning of the arm when holding and using smartphones – either for general use or holding up to our ears during phone calls, the release said.
Text claw and 90-degree elbow (or scientifically speaking, cubital tunnel syndrome) both point to a similar type of unnatural behaviour, as Dr. Djordjevic explained:
“This syndrome is caused by pressure or the stretching of the ulnar nerve which runs in a groove on the inner side of the elbow. This causes numbness or a tingling sensation in the ring and little fingers, forearm pain, and weakness in the hands. Keeping the elbow bent for a long time – most often, while holding your phone – can stretch the nerve behind the elbow and put pressure on it.”
Returning to Mindy’s posture, the effects of technology on the neck have also given rise to a new condition – aptly named “tech neck”. In an article for Health Matters, Dr. K. Daniel Riew from the New York-Presbyterian Orch Spine Hospital, broke down exactly what tech neck is:
“When you’re working on a computer or looking down at your phone, the muscles in the back of the neck have to contract to hold your head up. The more you look down, the harder the muscles have to work to keep your head up. These muscles can get overly tired and sore from looking down at our smartphones and tablets or spending the majority of our working day on computers.”
“We all know technology can distract our brains from important work, but does it have any lasting damage to Mindy’s brain? If so, how might she be different when looking to limit that damage? Again, the research centres mainly around smartphones. There are growing concerns that radio frequency radiation emitted from smartphones could cause serious health implications when exposed to the brain,” the release said.
The effects are believed to be particularly severe on children. Their lesser developed skulls are thinner, absorbing up to three times more radiation than adult brains. Given the impact it could potentially have on us all, Mindy has developed a slightly thicker skull, protecting her from harm.
The researchers also said that technology could also change the size of our brains. In 2010, cognitive scientist David Geary said: “I think the best explanation for the decline in our brain size is the idiocracy theory.”
Popularized by the 2006 film “Idiocracy”, in which an ordinary man wakes up 500 years in the future to find he is the most intelligent man on the planet, the theory has gained traction thanks to research that showed how human brains shrunk between 1.9 million and 10,000 years ago. Why? Thanks to technological advances in agriculture, health and many more walks of life, we now have to do so much less to survive. Following evolutionary theory, it’s not just people with larger brains who are being selected, the release said.
It could even extend to a smaller human altogether, as Adina Mahalli from Enlightened Reality told us:
“The theory of evolution would point to a smaller human being in the future. This is largely due to the fact that survival no longer depends on being the largest, strongest person in the species.
“Likewise, reproductive success is now dependent on a wide variety of metrics, including financial abilities. In the future, the more technologically savvy people will likely be the most successful. In light of this, human beings will begin to shrink.”
The researchers said that humans may develop a larger inner eyelid to prevent exposure to excessive light, or the lens of the eye may be evolutionary developed such that it blocks incoming blue light but not other high wavelength lights like green, yellow or red.
Mindy’s sideways blink, coming from another inner eyelid that protects us from excessive exposure to light from tech devices, is the final evolutionary change to our futuristic, tech-effected human.