Isabel Pedersen, PhD, is immersed in the world of wearable computer devices. She addresses important questions concerning how gadgets worn on the body will shift reality for us, change how we interact with others, and participate in digital culture. As an international thought leader, Dr. Pedersen is interested in how society is persuaded to adopt these gadgets because they involve vast contexts such as popular film, traditional mythology, social media outlets, entrepreneurial adventures, consumer contexts, government ideologies, transhuman beliefs, and inventors’ writing. She concentrates on inventions promised for the future as these predictions also bear consequences for humanity in the present.
Currently, she holds funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation. She is the author of Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media, and runs research out of UOIT’s Digital, Culture and Media Lab (DeCiMal).
Industry Expertise (2)
Areas of Expertise (10)
Inaugural Member, Royal Society of Canada (RSC), College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists (professional)
Dr. Pedersen is named one of 91 inaugural members of the College, Canada’s first national system of multidisciplinary recognition for the emerging generation of leaders. Together, the members of the College will be in a position to provide guidance on issues of importance to Canadians, and to promote Canadian achievements in the arts, humanities and sciences around the world.
University of Waterloo: PhD, Language and Literature
University of Waterloo: MA, Language and Professional Writing
Trinity College, University of Toronto: BA, English
Media Appearances (16)
Making the marriage question pop
The Vancouver Sun print
The era of dropping onto one knee — ring in hand — and simply uttering “will you marry me?” is over.
Today’s wedding proposals are often painstakingly choreographed, splashy, public occasions resulting in stories and photos that are ready-made to share and post. Flash mobs of dancing strangers, helicopter trips to pristine mountain tops, professional-quality movies that incorporate special effects — nothing is over the top anymore when asking for someone’s hand in marriage.
And to help offset the pressure of creating a moment worth Instagramming, there’s now a plethora of Vancouver-based services that plan unique wedding proposals and special date nights.
CEO hopes new toy for young girls is a link to careers in STEM
Philly Voice online
As our world becomes more plugged in than ever before, the demand for job candidates in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) continues to increase. A recent analysis from 2013 predicts that STEM jobs will grow 55 percent faster than non-STEM jobs over the next decade.
The Wearable Computer for Little Girls
Fast Company print
How children will respond to wearable, educational technology—and what effects it might have on them—remains unclear. "Children’s toys, and especially ones that encourage learning, shouldn’t be seen as corrective; they ought to be seen as challenging children," says Isabel Pedersen, a professor of social science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology who studies wearable technologies.
Disrupting art with wearable technology
A new project by the Digital Culture and Media Lab (DeCiMaL) is exploring ways to sync feelings about art through an interactive experience using brain-sensing wearable technology that gives art goers a chance to get inside the mind of curators and artists to create a brain-based dialogue on art.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Our Digital Lives
For all of the connectedness that the online world gives us, it comes with a cost: the potential loss of privacy. Is this loss simply the price to pay for staying globally connected?
Life After Digital
Life After Digital is a one-hour documentary about the ways digital technology has changed human life in the last few years. Directed by Marc de Guerre, Life After Digital has its world broadcast premiere on TVO, Wednesday, October 15, 2014.
Tech, Meet Fashion
The New York Times print
In the article written by Columnist Nick Bilton, Isabel Pedersen, the author of “Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media,” said that until now, companies have been treating the design of wearable computers as, well, the design of computers. In contrast, fashion designers think about style, age, taste and a number of other criteria when they make clothing and jewelry for consumers. (Article also appeared in The Times of India).
The Quantified Self – Spur Toronto 2015
A panel on quantified health featuring Dr. Isabel Pedersen, and moderated by CBC Radio Host Nora Young.
Five Women to Watch in Wearable Tech
BetaKit Canadian Startup News & Tech Innovation online
Most of the new technology today is invented, adopted and celebrated well before understanding how it will impact our lives, cultures, and social practices. It’s in this area that Isabel Pedersen is most interested in as Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media and Culture. She is studying how the public prepares for new technologies like wearables and how media, like pop culture and film, is being used to influence parts of our humanity and our technological creativity.
Spur Festival not afraid to ask the big questions
Calgary Herald print
Meet Spur, the newest festival of ideas, which hits Calgary for a weekend full of events beginning April 25.
“The common thread of the Spur festival is the value of a longform conversation,” says the Spur blog, written by artistic producer Nick Hutcheson. Some of the events scheduled for Calgary include... Wired Magazine columnist Clive Thompson talking about the value of connectivity and technology on culture in the digital age with culture expert Isabel Pedersen.
Looking into the future: wearables & implantables
Clinical Innovation + Technology Magazine print
High-profile electronic conventions put a lot of hype on wearable computers and gadgets, says Isabel Pedersen, PhD, Canada research chair in digital life, media & culture at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
However, wearables have been around since the 1980s and “a lot of respectable schools worldwide have been working on this for long time.” The technology got a consumer life with the announcement of Google Glass last spring, she says. “Google Glass very quickly got everybody’s attention.”
Ontario teachers' union calls for classroom cellphone ban
The Toronto Sun print
Ontario's largest teachers' union wants cellphones checked at the classroom door unless teachers say otherwise.
The recommendation to restrict the technology is all about keeping distractions out of the classroom, not being heavy-handed with kids, says the Ontario Elementary Teachers' Federation, which represents 76,000 public elementary teachers.
Ontario Elementary Teachers Federation wants cell phones checked at classroom door
The London Free Press print
“Social media such as Facebook, Snapchat and basic texting are distracting because they engender ‘always on’ practices where students feel compelled to engage in communication,” said Isabel Pedersen, the Canada research chair in digital life, media and culture. “Teachers are competing with this constant digital distraction,” Still, properly used, Pedersen says the technology can be beneficial in the classroom.
Technologists Strangest Minds Eye the Future
Metro Morning print
To hear a technological evangelist talk about the future of technology can make it seem inevitable -- we’re heading into the cyborg age, like it or not.
“We’re being convinced that carryable technology (i.e. smartphones) will become wearable technology (i.e. Googe Glass), will become implantable technology—brain implants and things miniaturized to the nanoscale, and we’ll be able to put them in our body,” says Isabel Pedersen, the Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media and Culture and associate professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, who studies the rhetoric of technological process.
Google Glass is just the beginning
CBC News Technology & Science tv
Isabel Pedersen, who researches wearable and mobile media culture at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, acknowledged that wearable computing has existed for decades, but she said the arrival of Google Glass is still significant because it makes the technology available to consumers for the first time.
"It's the mainstreaming of this kind of device," she said. "I really think we're on the cusp of a big change with things like Google Glass."
CBC Metro Morning radio
Matt Galloway spoke with Isabel Pedersen. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Digital Life, Media and Culture at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and she researches how the devices we use change our lives, not just for the better.
Event Appearances (3)
From Carryables to Wearables to Implants and Beyond
11th Wearable Technology Conference Europe 2014 Munich, Germany
Ready to Wear -- Dr Pedersen discusses her new book
IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society Toronto
The Iron Man Phenomenon...
CHI2012 Austin, Texas