Here’s an interesting article from the Communications of the ACM (the ACM is a major professional group for computer scientists) about the various uses of wearables to change people’s behavior: getting them to quit or limit drinking, keeping them from wandering off, and so on.
A certain amount of the magic of such devices, as pointed out by one interviewee, is to find ways of alerting the wearer about counterproductive behavior in ways that won’t make the user rip the thing off in frustration.
One interesting application is a sensor-laden badge that not only tracks motion but makes an audio recording of your life:
The badges include Bluetooth chips that measure a person’s proximity to others, accelerometers that offer insight into posture and movement, and microphones that capture audio for analysis. Instead of recording the content of what is said, however, the technology tracks how often a person contributes to a conversation, the duration of that contribution, plus changes in pitch, amplitude, and more.
Why? To give you clues about your social interactions. Are you interrupting people a lot? Do you sound angry, or do other interacting with you sound angry? It could be used as an executive coaching tool, or perhaps as a way to gauge social problems in a patient’s life.
One of Sociometric Solutions’ founders is Sandy Pentland, an interesting guy about whom we’re written previously.