In an unplanned series of sorts, we’re showcasing a couple of posts about the 2013 NMC/EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Horizon Report for Higher Education. We’ve already talked about the key trends in the report and some challenges we face in implementing education technology, so we’re ready to take a look at the six technologies highlighted in the report as being game-changers for education. We’ve already looked at MOOCs, tablet computing, gamification, and learning analytics. Joining 3-D printing on the ‘third horizon’, (or entering mainstream use in four to five years) is wearable technologies.
Much like 3-D printing, wearable technologies are much less mainstream than tablets in the classroom, so they’ve gotten a bit less face time with our lovely audience (Shout out to you guys! Thanks for being awesome!), though there have been a few mentions as of late. The Horizon Report identified some of the trailblazers that are already using wearable technologies in their classrooms.
The stuff that the folks profiled are doing with these types of technology are really interesting, and we can’t wait to see what’s next from them! We’ve linked to each of them below (along with the description provided in the report) so you can check out some of what the investigators saw as great examples.
The Autographer is a camera with sensors that look out for changes in temperature, color, direction, acceleration, and subject motion, triggering the shutter automatically up to 2,000 times a day.
A new brain-sensing headband called Muse displays a user’s brain activity directly on their smartphone or tablet. The ultimate goal for development is that users will be able to control televisions and other electronic devices merely by thinking about them.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina converted the fibers of a t-shirt into activated carbon, turning it into a wearable hybrid super-capacitator that can charge portable electronic devices. The inventors claim that the process they used on the t-shirt is less expensive, and greener, in comparison to conventional methods of creating electric storage devices.
Keyglove is a wireless open-source input glove that can be used to control devices, enter data, play games, and manipulate 3D objects among other tech-based activities. Equipped with 37 contact sensors and smart controller software, the Keyglove can facilitate singlehanded tasks, a feature that is ideal for handicapped or disabled users.
A new robotic suit created by Koba Lab from Tokyo University of Science provides support to the wearer’s back, shoulders, and elbows, enabling them to carry more weight and perform more difficult physical tasks.
Alta Device’s solar charging mat can be attached to a backpack to continuously generate renewable electricity, which is then used to recharge a lithium battery connected with it. Once charged, the battery can be used to power a range of portable electronic devices such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
Professor Thad Starner at Georgia Tech University founded the Contextual Computing Group to develop applications and interfaces that can be worn. Projects include a mobile sign language translator, a wearable pendant that recognizes and translates one’s hand gestures into actions, and an application designed to make a tablet pressure-sensitive so it monitors tremor in patients with Parkinson’s disease.