Home Future of Education Technology 15 Powerful New Wearable Technologies, and Ideas for Applications in Education

15 Powerful New Wearable Technologies, and Ideas for Applications in Education

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Just When I Thought Wearable was Dying on the Vine, I Learned About so Many Impressive Technologies in Development or Available now …

Okay, so with the thoroughly unimpressive track record of smart watches, Google Glass, and various other wearable technologies over the last few years, I've started to feel like this is an emerging technology that simply isn't ready for prime time.

Then I sat through “Technology at Warp Speed”, a great presentation by Norman Jacknis at a local SIM chapter meeting, and discovered that there is a lot of powerful wearable tech heading our way, ripe with possibilities! We've barely tapped the surface of what we can do with the senses of touch and vision, and with our brain waves using gadgets that we wear (or in some cases, just look at).

I should clarify that this piece is more about these interesting and exciting technologies than it is about applications for education, but I took a shot at considering some teaching and learning uses for these products and concepts. Of course, there are likely to be many possibilities that have not occurred to me, and I welcome input from readers with ideas you might have about how these technologies can be used in the educational setting!

So here we go … check out these wild wearable technologies that are either in development, or in quite a few cases, available now. 

Wear This in Your Ear and Hear the World! Translation on the Fly

Potential Applications for Education
Teachers can teach and students can learn, no matter what language each speaks! Of course, this could certainly also be quite helpful in language classes.

Emotiv

Potential Applications for Education

There is a growing body of studies published involving this technology, exploring things like the generation of visual images, projecting student emotions resulting from appraisal or feedback, the treatment of depression, and much more. Given this technology's ability to interact with the brain, it should be quite interesting to watch the possibilities for applying this technology to teaching and learning emerge.

Shima Glasses – Getting Smart Glasses Right

Potential Applications for Education

Smart glasses as an educational aid are certainly fun to contemplate. For example, folks have written about how these might improve teacher-student communication. Of course, we all know that Google Glass did not turn out to be “The Smart Glasses the Education World Was Waiting for“, but maybe one of these newer versions will be!

Digital Contact Lenses

Potential Applications for Education

Talk about making it easy to record lecture content for later review! Of course, this can require a fair amount of storage, but if this technology can save wirelessly to the cloud, then … problem solved. Of course, the privacy implications are the same concerning issues that played a role in Google Glass failing to catch on.

Dagri Smart Helmet

Potential Applications for Education

This is intended to augment workers on the job, providing visuals and information/knowledge on the fly, so to some extent it already is an educational device (particularly in this day and age where knowledge acquisition is shifting from memorizing lots of facts to knowing how to locate and use the wealth of knowledge available through digital means). It would seem that devices like this are a natural fit for the training of workers and teaching of related trades.

A Smarter Smart Watch? The Neptune Hub & Suite

Potential Applications for Education

The ease of portability would seem one potential advantage … it's always right there, ready to use. Many of the same benefits that the smart phone provides in the teaching and learning environment are available through this ‘smarter' smart watch – information at your fingertips, access lesson materials, interact with student response apps, store information, etc. Additionally, the potential to add hand gesture technology, motion sensing, etc. (as illustrated in some of the other videos in this post) may lead to other applications. Of course, many might also see something like this to be a problem, as it seems less practical to gather everyone's smart watches at the start of class and set them aside so they're not a distraction.

Gesture Based Computing

Potential Applications for Education

First, I should note that this is not necessarily a wearable technology, but it can be, as there are various wearables that are designed for gesture control, like the Myo Wristband. This certainly looks like a fun way to engage students in the hands-on exploration of content! I actually found several online resources exploring this topic, like this Wikispaces page, and this article on MentalFloss.com.  Among the possible ways that gesture based computing could be beneficial in education: sign language recognition, interactive virtual tours, directional indications through pointing, control through facial gestures, and getting kids off their butts and moving while learning (and there is a growing body of research showing the connections between physical movement and enhanced learning).

Intel RealSense

Potential Applications for Education

Here we see a wide range of applications for Intel's RealSense technology – this is an enabling technology that can be used in many ways. Intel shared some ideas specific to teaching and learning in this article, Immersive Learning Turbo-Charges Education, exploring health sciences, storytelling, enhance learning media, gamification, and more.

Duo Skin Jewelry

Potential Applications for Education

So this is a weird one. First, it's not readily apparent if these can be temporary – applied, and removed. If they can, then it certainly becomes a little more comfortable talking about the idea of students using them in an educational setting. It seems this might be more practical in certain subject areas versus others … one might imagine uses for them as a controller in a hands-on applied subject like some of the sciences, health care, and maybe even physical education.

Finger IO

Potential Applications for Education

In terms of application, this would seem pretty similar to the “smart jewelry” technology above it. In addition to some of the ideas offered there, I could also see this technology being applied to student response systems. Speaking of which …

Nailo

Potential Applications for Education

The tiny nature of this certainly seems convenient. I could easily envision these as a replacement for a simple student response tool. It could also be used to control other technology I would imagine.

Proglove

Potential Applications for Education

This seems rather analogous in some ways to the Dagri Smart Headset above. Given the different nature of how it is worn – on the hand versus the head, it would logically lend itself to different applications.

The Dash – Wireless Earphones

Potential Applications for Education

This technology could clearly be used in the same way as headphones are used for audio based content consumption in schools today, but the more exciting application would be to leverage the untethered nature of these earphones. Students could potentially hear commentary while exploring art work or during a field trip, get instruction while trying something new in gym class, hear a music teacher offer critique, etc.

Tobii Eye Tracking

Potential Applications for Education

This seems like something that could possibly become somewhat commonplace and ease how we interact with the computer to select things and interact with them, so you can envision making it easy to answer multiple choice questions, using it to ease the scrolling and consumption of educational content, and so on. I would imagine it might also provide specific benefits as an assistive technology for those who might be challenged in terms of using their hands and arms.

Eyefluence – Integrated Eye Tracking and AI

Potential Applications for Education

This appears to be largely equivalent to the eye tracking technology above (although the lack of information about how the selections are made is a little odd, and the interface seems highly proprietary). It would seem that with the proprietary eye-wear required, there is the possibility for custom interactive apps that could benefit the classroom and learning experience, building on the possibilities cited above.

Well … there you have it … the quickly evolving world of wearable tech, going well beyond the limited uses we've seen to date. It isn't hard to imagine that at least a few of these will find their way into our classrooms and our students' hands, heads, ears, etc. over the coming decade.  

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. […] “ Okay, so with the thoroughly unimpressive track record of smart watches, Google Glass, and various other wearable technologies over the last few years, I’ve started to feel like this is an emerging technology that simply isn’t ready for prime time. Then I sat through “Technology at Warp Speed”, a great presentation by Norman Jacknis at a local SIM chapter meeting, and discovered that there is a lot of powerful wearable tech heading our way, ripe with possibilities! We’ve barely tapped the surface of what we can do with the senses of touch and vision, and with our brain waves using gadgets that we wear (or in some cases, just look at). I should clarify that this piece is more about these interesting and exciting technologies than it is about applications for education, but I took a shot at considering some teaching and learning uses for these products and concepts. Of course, there are likely to be many possibilities that have not occurred to me, and I welcome input from readers with ideas you might have about how these technologies can be used in the educational setting!”  […]

  2. […] 15 Powerful New Wearable Technologies, and Ideas for Applications in Education. Just When I Thought Wearable was Dying on the Vine, I Learned About so Many Impressive Technologies in Development or Available now … Okay, so with the thoroughly unimpressive track record of smart watches, Google Glass, and various other wearable technologies over the last few years, I’ve started to feel like this is an emerging technology that simply isn’t ready for prime time. Then I sat through “Technology at Warp Speed”, a great presentation by Norman Jacknis at a local SIM chapter meeting, and discovered that there is a lot of powerful wearable tech heading our way, ripe with possibilities! […]

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