My first grader is an official member of the quantified self movement. Her elementary school randomly selected children to wear activity-tracking watches to assess the outcomes of their physical education program. This is her week.
Measuring fitness biometrics is a topic we know a lot about through our work with Valencell. The company’s PerformTek sensor seamlessly integrates into wearable devices, such as audio earbuds, armbands and wristbands, and connects with smartphone apps people already are using while exercising. It measures more real-time biometric and physiological data than any other fitness monitor with a high degree of accuracy and consistency. It’s currently available through iriverON earbuds as well as Scosche Rhythm armbands, and is coming soon to products from LG, Blaupunkt and others.
There’s plenty of research that suggests these wearable devices motivate adults to live more active lifestyles. I was curious to see how a data-driven awareness of her activity might change my daughter’s behavior.
I came home from work the day she received the watch and she almost knocked me over at the door to show it to me. It’s a Polar product and appears to be measuring activity time through an accelerometer. On the first day, she logged just over an hour and a half of activity. Thanks in part to the NFL’s Play 60 campaign, most parents know children need 60 minutes of activity a day.
Yesterday was day two with the device and she was past her previous day’s time when we sat down to do her homework after dinner. She was determined to hit the two-hour mark before bed. So we did jumping jacks together as she practiced her spelling words for the week. She still had seven minutes to go. After she brushed her teeth, she did karate moves all around her bedroom while I read to her. She got in bed and spent the last few minutes throwing punches until she hit 2:00. The sense of accomplishment created a little more excitement (and sweat) than a 6-year old needs before bed, but it was great to see her celebrate the milestone.
The jury’s still out on whether the enthusiasm will continue. And the line between a healthy awareness and unhealthy obsession may be a thin one I need to watch. But the early results are interesting and encouraging.
Do you think kids are a target market for wearable fitness technology?
tags:Blaupunkt, iriverON, LG Electronics, NFL Play 60, PerformTek, Polar, Scosche, Valencell