The "quantified self"’ movement has made our bodies transparent, revealing the secrets of our DNA from drug preferences to disease risks. The "Tikker" watch (yours for $39) cuts to the chase, by giving the wearer the date of their death to the second.
It has raised almost $100,000 on Kickstarter and we spoke to Swedish inventor Fredrik Colting ahead of the launch in April.
Metro: What is your miracle formula?
Colting: It’s pretty basic, a bit like insurance companies. We ask clients questions about their health, whether they smoke or where they live. We input the factors that affect life expectancy, but the most important thing is the message you receive every time you look at it.
Which is to treasure life apparently. But aren’t you just freaking people out?
It shouldn’t be stressful. It’s just like an egg timer but reminds you that life is precious. Death is considered ugly because it is hidden, but it is normal and should be accepted. People who crowd-funded the watch tell us their stories, and it’s often older people or yoga types who want to be mindful and appreciative of time. We have sold over 5,000.
Do you wear one and if so, how has it changed you?
I’ve been living with a prototype and it inspired me to move from Sweden, where it is cold and dark, to Los Angeles. I never went to college and now I am going to courses here and trying to do what makes me happy. I’ve been thinking about this watch for fourteen years since my grandfather died. I went to visit him at the hospital but he was dead. It made me think that time is all we have, and that’s how I got this idea, and why I’m in California.