Originally published on ReadWrite.com
By Cate Lawrence, Contributing Writer
This week IHT debuted a new wearable device, co-developed with Interactive Health Technologies (IHT). Called the IHT ZONE, it’s the first wrist-based wearable device developed specifically for physical education class use.
Currently, IHT supports 1,500 teachers in 800 schools across the country and during the 2015 school year, 600,000 children were connected to the IHT Spirit System. With the help of the new wearable, IHT is on track to hit their 2016 target of interacting with one million students nationwide on a daily basis.
The ZONE is a wrist-worn, heart rate monitoring device that integrates into the existing IHT Spirit System – a cloud-based curriculum for physical education (PE) – that allows teachers to efficiently track each student’s performance in PE class, creating individualized workouts and goals for students based on their personal fitness levels. The product is built to meet the needs of teachers across the country, durable enough for multiple students to wear during PE classes, and can sync quickly, using NFC technology. Heart rate training is accompanied by pedometer data, IHT’s PE 3 project-based curriculum, and the IHT Challenges program which uses cloud-based software
Stacey Burr, VP and general manager of Digital Sports said that “in working with IHT, we found a partner that shared our vision of inspiring the next generation to lead healthy lives by making sport and fitness a life-long pursuit. We’re firm believers that healthy habits are easier to keep the earlier you start, so introducing tools and resources at the school-level offered the perfect place to lay such an important foundation.“
IHT can boost kids’ performance…if they still have PE classes
It’s unclear how the program will help those subject to the alarming trend of PE classes being reduced or eliminated from school curriculums across the US that IHT aims to address. It is, after all, likely that the wearable and curriculum will be more readily adopted by school already invested in sports than those without resources or funding.
I also can’t help wondering about the privacy of the data, as they ask you to “imagine 12 years from today, when your 1st graders receive their high school diploma and along with it, are handed their entire wellness portfolio correlated to their academic, attendance and fitness success. A legacy created for students and their families while meeting the daily needs of school administration and compliance.” Would such data be attached to college and job applications of the future? What are the consequences for future health insurance?
It’s also worthy considering that unless a lifetime warranty is available – that’s unclear at this stage – a device targeting K-12 students is likely to require repeat purchases. The device retails at $139, and is also available for schools to buy for students in PE through package pricing.