Blending the digital and physical

Nieuws | de redactie
25 februari 2013 | With the Google Glass coming up, a new step in technology is made, but much more is happening. Yuri van Geest from Singularity University tells what technologies to watch for, and how technology can improve teaching.

In mobile technology the digital and physical are blending, explains Yuri van Geest. Things will no longer be purely digital or a pure physical product. One of the clearest examples is the VIP fridge magnet, it is a physical fridge magnet, but it’s connected to the internet as well. When the magnet is pushed your favorite pizza is ordered and will be delivered to your house.

Another trend is completely personalized, pro-active information. Google Now, for example, collects and gives all information about your location or schedule. Yuri van Geest from the Singularity University explained at the Singularity University Summit in Rotterdam: “If you go on a business trip to South Africa and you turn on your phone after landing, Google Now sends information about the current traffic situation, the exchange rate, local time and additional information you didn’t even think about”.

Healthier and better educated

Technology is not only there to make life easier, there are staggering and life-saving developments in healthcare. “In healthcare technology it is all about prevention”. Prevention is not only better for individuals who won’t want to get ill, but it will also heavily reduce health care costs.

At this time there are already more than 600 tracking apps for health monitoring. There are apps that send a pro-active reminder when you are about to get sick. The application registers body warmth and other parameters that can predict an illness, and informs you at a time when getting sick can still be avoided.

On a more macro-level, health can also be improved by mobile technology. Asthmapolis for example, links an inhaler to the internet and sends a signal when and where the inhaler was used. The data that is collected this way is mapped, and when several signals come from the same location the source of pollution is easily located. “Where this took months before, it can now be done in a matter of days”, says van Geest.

Some of these innovations are penetrating classrooms, and are improving teaching as well. With modern technology ‘recognition’ can be measured, so it can be registered when students are actually learning something. How many students recognize learning material during what percentage of that specific lesson? This way it can be measured what the most effective teaching methods are. When this data from different teachers and schools is combined, the best teachers and schools can be selected to share their expertise with other teachers around the globe. And technology made that as well, easier than ever.

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