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Wearable Technology Finds Its Place on Campus


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Artist's representation of wearable technology

Some universities are experimenting with wearable technologies as a means of improving classroom instruction.

Credit: James Ferguson

Several universities are experimenting with wearable technologies as a way to improve classroom instruction.

Last year, University of California, Berkeley researchers and Intel launched the Make It Wearable Challenge, a competition to encourage entrepreneurs to develop wearable devices. The challenge involved instructors from Berkeley's Lester Center guiding the startup teams through an accelerator program. The competition's winning project was a wrist-mounted camera drone called Nixie. A low-cost robotic hand took second prize, while a production tools called Proglove, which helps industrial workers track data and information on the job, came in third.

Meanwhile, New York University (NYU) researchers are using wearable devices to teach incoming students about project management and teamwork. As part of orientation for its full-time and part-time MBA students, the administration has put students to work on short projects that integrate Google Glass and a clip-on camera called Narrative Clip. "This is a way to tell [students] that this is an opportunity to look into the future, so try to think about how you would use this," says NYU's Maya Georgieva.

Harvard Business School professors are using wearable trackers that measure their steps as a way to study the theory that an instructor's activity level in class correlates with how well students absorb the course material.

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