The great French philosopher René Descartes is best known for his quote, “I think; therefore I am”. That was in the 17th century. Nowadays, you only “are” when you produce data. When you have at least a financial history with your credit card company, a live LinkedIn, a Facebook account and an email address. Otherwise it is almost impossible to live a decent life in modern society.
The trend towards the so-called “Quantified Self” is gaining traction. People want to know about all sorts of personal stuff such as burned calories, steps, weight, energy intake, sleep patterns and the like. And most of them are absolutely comfortable with sharing this information with the people and companies they trust.
This trend gets an extra boost from the broad availability of wearables, such as smart watches, phones, glasses and the like. There are even smart socks that tell you how fast, how far, and how well you run. Wearable devices come in various shapes and sizes and can be mounted anywhere on the body or in the clothing of the user depending on the use case. But the majority of the wearable devices are either wrist-worn or act as head gear.
The education sector is really leading the way in wearable tech. The analysis company, Research and Markets, forecasts the US classroom wearable technology market to grow 45.52% during the period 2016-2020. One way some US schools are experimenting with wearable tech is with virtual reality glasses that enable students to explore places like the Great Wall of China, or Manhattan.
And expectations are that in the near future brain-sensing headbands will be able to tell how students react to certain activities, and which are most conducive to learning. It will work by monitoring brain signals in the same way that a heart rate monitor tracks one’s pulse. These devices are not only actively adopted in the education sector but also find applications in various industries such as logistics and healthcare.
Wearable technology has changed the way data is communicated, collected, and analyzed. And like all technology, there is a downside to it. The first security breaches have been reported already. And at this moment, the use of measurable data is on a voluntary base. Until now, nobody is being forced to wear a smartwatch or anything else. The education example however, shows that this could soon be different. If the majority of students in a class will be willing to apply these technologies, the individual student who isn’t has no alternative than to comply. “Be measurable or get out”.
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