What is Wearable Technology?


Wearable technology refers to computer-based devices that can be worn by users, taking the form of an accessory such as jewelry, eyewear, or even actual items of clothing such as shoes or a jacket. The benefit of wearable technology is that it can conveniently integrate tools that track sleep, movement, location, and social media interactions, or, in the case of Oculus Rift and similar gear, it can enable virtual reality. There are even new classes of devices that are seamlessly integrated with a user’s everyday life and movements. In the past few years, Google Glass was one of the most heavily discussed wearables, enabling users to see information about their surroundings displayed in front of them. Smartwatches from Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Pebble are now allowing users to check emails and perform other productive tasks through a tiny interface. Thanks to the quantified self movement, the phenomenon where people use technology to monitor data that is relevant to their everyday lives, today’s wearables not only track where a person goes, what they do, and how much time they spend doing it, but now what their aspirations are and when those can be accomplished.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to academic and research libraries?

  • Just as these devices incorporate health, info and social connections, perhaps the academic library would have a place here too with tracking library use, movement around the space, etc as well as receiving important updates right to the device. All is opt in of course for those concerned about privacy. (Active FitBit fellow here :-) ) - mstephens7 mstephens7 Nov 1, 2016 - vacekrae vacekrae Oct 10, 2016
  • Wearables could be used to help students with planning, controlling and reflecting their study activities. Information could be gathered about how they spend their time while there in the Library and how effective and efficient this time is being spend. Learning analytics - Laurents.Sesink Laurents.Sesink Nov 8, 2016 - vacekrae vacekrae Oct 10, 2016

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Where data is collected in a consumer device, who owns the data and who has access to the data? How are the privacy implications of these devices managed in academic and research settings? - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on academic and research libraries?

  • At the moment, this technology seems to be in the through of disillusionment... Privacy is one reason the other is the feil of Google Glass. Even Apple Watch is not that success people expected. It's not clear to me if the devices have to be improved (i.e. Google Glass should be more discrete so that people don't feel observed or Apple Watch more independent from the iPhone) or if people remain skeptical anyway. - rudolf.mumenthaler rudolf.mumenthaler Nov 7, 2016 Recalling a time I spent with folks wearing Google glass, it was odd and I was skeptical. I had no idea if I was being recorded. Your thought about it being better engineered is solid. But the whole recording/photo thing is a an issue to be sorted out.
  • Wearable technology may be used by researchers to gather data (eg. biomedical sciences) - will libraries have the capacity to archive this type of data as a research product while protecting the highly personal nature of some of the data collected? - mylee.joseph mylee.joseph Nov 8, 2016 - vacekrae vacekrae Oct 10, 2016
  • - liusq liusq Nov 12, 2016Wearable technogy seems cool, it is kind of new experience. however, libraries had not better use it to collect user data because privacy comes first,especially in such a digital world.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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