Wearable sensor technology (e.g. smartwatches and activity monitors) is one of the fastest growing technology fields in the world. The University of Calgary launched Canada’s first wearables program in September 2018 called Wearable Technology Research and Collaboration (We-TRAC) Training Program. One of our main research aims is to redefine normative standards for sleep, exercise and overall activity levels. Since current wearable sensors now track many other health-related parameters such as sleep duration, activity intensity, types/modes of exercise, and heart rate, these data can easily be combined with the automatic tracking of an individual’s global position that correspond to where they live, work, and play. Therefore, modern wearable technology offers the opportunity to gather population-level data, across a wide spectrum of individuals in real-world conditions, in order to develop new normative standards.
We-TRAC researchers have built a web-portal to allow individuals to voluntarily upload their wearable technology data to a Level-4 secure research database housed at the University of Calgary. This database also serves the University’s research community as a way to safely and securely manage the large amounts of data generated from wearable technology devices. The development of this unique database at the University of Calgary offers us the opportunity to engage in a novel and transformative research program: one we call the Wearable Technology Citizen Science Program.
There are two aims to the Wearable Technology Citizen Science Program. For all participants, this study aims to use data from wearable technology to redefine normative standards for sleep, exercise and overall activity levels. The Level-4 secure server also serves the University’s research community as a way to safely and securely manage the large amounts of data generated from wearable technology devices.