Wearables and Workload

Wearables and Workload

Michael Schwartz (WEAR Lab, USA), Paul Oppold (University of Central Florida, USA) and P. A. Hancock (University of Central Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7949-6.ch007

Abstract

Prior research has reported that novelty affects the usage cycle of wearable devices. This chapter investigates the effects of sensation seeking, intensity, novelty, gender, and prior experience on the workload experienced during one aspect of using wearable fitness trackers, the device installation process. Contrary to the authors' hypotheses, prior experience, sensation seeking, intensity, and novelty did not significantly affect workload. The findings suggest that males tend to experience less workload during the setup of wearable fitness trackers; however, only for the Basis B1 and only for some aspects of workload. The claims made by prior research may be limited to specific aspects of the wearable fitness tracker use cycle, and more investigation is needed before broader claims can be made.
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Background

Wearable technologies have the potential to be incorporated into a variety of healthcare platforms, provided that existing challenges with the devices are overcome in their deployment and utilization. There are currently workload costs, demands on an individual’s physical and mental resources, when using wearable devices (e.g., charging, installing, syncing), interface and application issues (e.g., inability to customize the presentation of data), and motivational issues (e.g., abandonment) that are barriers to using wearables at a larger scale (Brandao, 2016). Fitness trackers can provide benefits to the health, fitness, and medical fields through institutional adoption of wearables to serve as event recording devices for at risk or high-risk activity users (Rudner et al., 2016). A low-cost fitness tracker can be used as a discrete, early warning aid before a more expensive medical device is determined to be necessary. Early monitoring via a consumer-grade, wearable device of those within at-risk populations or those performing high risk activities has been observed, in some limited cases, to provide an early diagnosis and refer individuals to medical professionals for a more advanced diagnosis (Shapiro, 2015). However, fitness trackers are not medical devices; they are not regulated by the FDA, held to the same standards in terms of reliability and accuracy, or as expensive. Medical devices have higher sensor fidelity and the capability to provide real-time status. Fitness trackers are capable of passive data collection and provide retrospective analysis of data. The lower costs of fitness trackers compared to medical monitoring equipment is beneficial to people looking to monitor personal health in a limited fashion over time.

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