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Wearable Technologies: Do students need to learn about this stuff?

Since the invention of the hearing aid in 1938, humans have made and worn devices to overcome physical problems, such as difficulty hearing. In recent years, thanks to shrinking chips and sensors, combined with increasingly powerful artificial intelligence, wearable technology has boomed and may continue to impact more and more parts of our lives…and our bodies.

Is wearable technology the next leap in innovation for personal technology? The buzz in the media, from tech giants to start-ups, and from countless wearable tech conferences and conventions worldwide are all telling us, YES. But are these wearable devices more than just an exciting fad that will end up in a sock drawer? Should students be learning about these incredible innovations in school and how they might impact their future?

There are certainly many career paths that students could pursue involving wearable technology. As sensors have gotten smaller and technologies more sophisticated there has been an explosion of various applications of wearable technology. Each of these applications (and the companies behind them) needs software engineers, materials specialists, product designers, data security analysts, and many other roles that today’s students could fill in the future.

In healthcare, wearable devices are used for many functions, from monitoring heart rates to helping to diagnose and treat patients. Wearable technology is also an important part of firefighting history, thanks to the efforts of organizations like the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In fact, the NFPA has been applying research and technology to design protective clothing and gear for firefighters since 1896. Wearable technologies are also widely used in the military. For example, if you take the idea of a SmartWatch or Fit Bit and take it to the extreme, you have the making of a smart tracker fit for the military. The Blast Gauge is a type of tracking device worn to measure the impact of an explosion that a soldier may have been dealt on the front line. NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have also taken an interest in developing smart trackers for astronauts, monitoring everything from general health and well-being to how human bodies respond to long durations in space.

From smart clothing to fitness trackers and implantable devices, wearable technology is becoming widely used across a variety of career fields and industries. While educators work to prepare students for future careers, it may be important to consider how technology, such as wearable technology, plays a role. After all, preparing students for their future means preparing them for the world around them. With courses like Wearable Technology Innovations by Pointful Education, educators can jump-start their student’s knowledge of these impactful technologies.