Giorgia Lupi

Internet of Bodies: Our Connected Future

Giorgia Lupi's second visualization for RAND Art + Data focuses on the “Internet of Bodies” (IoB). This new category of technology has the potential to fundamentally transform our relationship with ourselves, our health, and others we interact with.

Lupi's goal is to educate the viewer about IoB technologies and their potential effects, while also “artistically evoking the future 'data ecosystems' that will surround us when these technologies are employed at huge scales.”

Explore the research behind this piece Learn more about Giorgia Lupi

This visualization was inspired by the iconic 1977 film, Powers of Ten, created by legendary design duo Charles and Ray Eames. In that work, the viewer is taken on a journey from the smallest unit of life (a single cell) to viewing an entire galaxy, highlighting the interconnectedness of life on earth at all scales.

Lupi's piece raises similar questions about how perceptions of the human body will be transformed with and through IoB technology, which by definition is “smart” and wirelessly connected via the internet.

A visual showing how Internet of Bodies technologies may surround and influence us in the future, illustration by Giorgia Lupi

In “Internet of Bodies: Our Connected Future,” information designer Giorgia Lupi's visuals evoke the future “data ecosystems” that will surround us when IoB technologies are employed at huge scales.

IoB devices can track, record, and store users' whereabouts, bodily functions, and what they see, hear, and even think. These devices vary greatly in how they are used—some are freestanding, such as infusion pumps and sensor-equipped hospital beds; others are wearable, such as health trackers and prosthetics; and others are implanted, such as cardiac devices and ingestible digital pills.

To help illustrate the function of different IoB technologies, Giorgia Lupi designed a series of device cards.

Data visualization illustrating an artificial pancreas by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating attention monitors by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating body-implanted sensors by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating brain-computer interfaces by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating clothing with sensors by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating freestanding infusion pumps by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating implantable cardiac devices by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating ingestible digital pills by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating sensor-equipped hospital beds by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating wearable health trackers by Gioriga Lupi.
Data visualization illustrating wearable neuro-devices by Gioriga Lupi.

Explore RAND's Internet of Bodies Research

The Internet of Bodies is an ecosystem of internet-connected devices that monitor the human body and collect personal biometric data. Despite its potential to offer revolutionized medical treatments, improved physical performance, convenience, and even fun, the Internet of Bodies is still an inconsistently regulated space that poses cybersecurity and other risks. RAND research explores such tensions—and considers what can be done to balance the risks and rewards of these emerging technologies.

  • Classic proportion man in the form of a starry sky or space, consisting of point, line, photo by Adobe Stock/anttoniart

    Report

    The Internet of Bodies: Opportunities, Risks, and Governance

    Within the broader Internet of Things (IoT) lies a subset of devices that monitor the human body and transmit the collected data. What are the benefits, security and privacy risks, and ethical implications of the growing Internet of Bodies (IoB)?

  • Graphic depicting a man surrounded by potential Internet of Bodies health devices, graphic by Alyson Youngblood/RAND Corporation

    Article

    The Internet of Bodies Will Change Everything, for Better or Worse

    The rise of devices that connect the human body to the web is accelerating rapidly. This Internet of Bodies could revolutionize health care and improve our quality of life. But without appropriate guardrails, it could also jeopardize our most intimate personal information and introduce several ethical concerns.

About Giorgia Lupi

Portrait of Giorgia Lupi

Giorgia Lupi is an information designer and partner at the international design consultancy Pentagram. In her practice, she challenges the impersonality of data, designing engaging visual narratives that reconnect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas.

Her work is part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and her TED talk on her humanistic approach to data has over one million views. She has published two books, Dear Data and Observe, Collect, Draw! A Visual Journal.

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