ITGS Case Study 2017 - Wearable technology

'Wearable Technology – Kita Health Tech (KHT)' is the 2017 case study for ITGS paper 3. This is for HL ITGS students only. The case study booklet focuses on an upcoming company looking to innovate in the wearable technology market, while being conscious of the potential social and ethical issues that may arise from their developments.

This case study is for May and November 2017 only. The case study for November 2016 is still Smart homes.

Personal health monitoring

Activity tracking devices

A wide range of devices are capable of monitoring users' vital data. This is a sector where technology is changing rapidly. A simple Amazon search for activity trackers reveals a huge range of available devices, from high end devices like the Garmin Vivosmart, through general purpose trackers like the FitBit Charge 2, to more budget options such as the Misfit Ray.

Product home pages are a good resource for learning about the technological features that are available today. Apple Watch, FitBit, and Misfit pages all contain a wealth of information.

The US military are even developing a 'smart tattoo' to monitor troops' vital signs constantly and unobtrusively.


Updated: 2017-02-08
Remote monitoring

Remote patient monitoring

Health monitoring isn't only done for "leisure" purposes by joggers, cyclists, and other interested users. Increasing doctors are using technology to monitor their patients remotely, freeing hospital beds and hopefully helping detect signs of problems early. The following articles and examples may be helpful:

Remote Patient Monitoring Lets Doctors Spot Trouble Early (WSJ) explains how more advanced tracking technologies are being used to monitor patients with chronic conditions such as extremely high blood pressure or cardiac problems.

The virtual doctor visit (Washington Post) is another good example of how conditions like diabetes can be managed in this way. PBS Newshour also reports on this issue.

The Telegraph reports that the British NHS plans for patients to be remotely monitored in a 'digital revolution' of the service.


Updated: 2017-02-08
XML, GPX, and TCX file formats

XML, GPX, and TCX formats

W3 Schools has probably the best clearest explanation of XML, with plenty of examples to help students understand.

GPX is an XML based file format which is used to store GPS data. Open Street Map has good examples. TCX (Training Center XML) is an extension to the GPX format which


Updated: 2017-02-08
GPX Example file

Example XML, GPX, and TCX files

Wikiloc is a great resource for files in the GPX format, and contains details of trails from all over the world. Students can download these files, examine them in a text editor, and use them with tools like Google Earth Pro in order to better understand how they work.

Garmin's developer page also has example files in GPX and TCX formats, which can be viewed in a web browser.


Updated: 2017-02-08
ANT+ protocol logo

ANT+ protocol

This Is Ant has a good overview of the ANT+ protocol and its benefits. The developer page goes into more detail about how the protocol works. Bike Rumour also clearly explains the benefits of ANT+ - specifically in relation to cycling, but relevant to all uses.


Updated: 2017-02-08
GPX analysis graph

Analysing GPX and TCX files

Line 50 of the case study booklet talks about programs to analyse XML, GPX, and TCX data files. There are a number of online services that will do this. Using these services with some example data can help understand the analysis options available:

A useful exercise might also be to examine the privacy policies of these sites to see how they store and use user data (case study line 68).


Updated: 2017-02-08
Activity tracker

Impacts of activity trackers

Perhaps inevitably there is some debate about the advantages of activity trackers. Indeed, the NY Times has reported that Fitness Trackers Might Help Us Live Longer, May Make Us a Bit Fit, and May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts.

This blog from the Harvard Medical School discusses an activity tracker study which was published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (AJPM).

CIO discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using activity monitors to improve employee fitness, which is slightly side tracking from the case study but is still an interesting and useful read.

Fitness trackers unlikely to make you healthier, say scientists (Telegraph) argues exactly what the title suggests. TeleHealth doesn't improve quality of life (The Atlantic) takes a similar view.


Updated: 2017-02-08
Activity tracker privacy

Data privacy

The case study booklet introduces the issue of privacy on line 111. As can be seen from many examples on this site, privacy can be an issue even when data is seemingly anonymous.

Wareable.com has a great analysis of the privacy policies for several major fitness brands and products, including FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin, and the Xiaomi Mi Band. This article is much easier to read and understand than the dense policies on most company's sites. Are Fitbit, Nike, and Garmin Planning to Sell Your Personal Fitness Data? is another analysis of these policies.

Every Step you Fake is an indepth report on the privacy, security, and integrity issues related to several modern activity trackers. Digital Trends has a summary of the report.


Updated: 2017-02-08
Woman running

Activity data and insurance companies

One privacy concern with activity trackers is the use of data by insurance companies. The case study booklet says "Adel Astuti, the health consultant, wanted to further develop KHTs relationships with hospitals, health providers and insurance companies" (line 70).

How Wearing a Fitness Tracker Can Lower Your Insurance examines the benefits now offered by some insurance companies in the US. In some cases these could be worth over $1000 in saved premiums. Computer World exmaines in detail the points benefits offered by one company for wearing its Internet-connected FitBit. Vitality.co.uk also offer discounts on their insurance.


Updated: 2017-02-08