By Chris Matyszczyk, CNET, June 12, 2012
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offers $1.1 million to develop “Galvanic” bracelets that measure how engaged children are in school. How very scientific — or, perhaps, just weird.
Science, rationality’s clever henchman, sometimes has strange ideas. One that has entered the firmament is a “Galvanic” bracelet that uses physiological signs to measure just how engaged a child is in school.
I am grateful to the Washington Post for revealing that such bracelets are now subject to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. I hadn’t been aware that one’s skin could be such a giveaway of my mental state. Sometimes, it’s just dry because I forget to lather myself in lovely Philosophy body lotion. (Try it. It smells wonderful.)
And yet one grant to Clemson University and another to the National Center on Time & Learning seek to find ways to quantify human engagement through the skin. It’s bad enough when the likes of ad agencies and Facebook try to put a number on this engagement thing. It’s worse, though, when you think that teachers might be judged according to the readings from a child’s skin.