RubberBand the Smartphone App that Can Help Teachers Keep Track of Wandering Kids

Description : 

A new smartphone app, RubberBand, was featured in a New Scientist teaser piece this month. The article details the new app as a tool to help teachers keep track of kindergarteners. The app works by tracking children that stray from a group. If you have ever been to a museum you can probably appreciate the kind of fear that a teacher in charge of dozens encounters. If a child just moves past a wall at an exhibit, they are then out of sight.

Following one child into another room, when in charge of so many, is not an option. The technology works with the user attaching sensors to those that need tracked. The software which is controlled from a smartphone, tracks each of those sensors by measuring the signal strength. So if one of those sensors moves out of range it will alert the user with an alarm.

There are some reservations for this new app. The article mentions attaching the sensor to a child's backpack. This would be a concern for many parents as backpacks can be left behind on a school bus or just lost. A more thoughtful approach is needed if teachers and parents are expected to invest in this software. Perhaps putting the sensor on an item not so obvious, like a zipper pull, a belt loop or an inside pocket. 

Also there is the matter of giving a caretaker permission to be complacent. In the article a kindergarten teacher is quoted to have breathed a sigh of relief because they felt less stressed with having the technology. But complacency can be cultured with any kind of fix and this should only be used as a back up measure. Classes are overflowing and kids will continue to go on class trips. This means teachers must be vigilant and head counts must be done.


Several other uses come to mind outside of education. For instance, children in any situation can be tracked this way. For example at camp, for babysitters at functions, large parties, venues, extracurricular activities and at family outings like theme parks. Even keeping a handle on grandma is optimal. She might not always be found at Yankee Candle. Basically, this app can help anyone who needs to keep tabs on a dozen or so. The uses are endless.


The RubberBand app is made by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Daejeon in the Republic of Korea. Anyone looking for more information can contact them via email at hjjang, sungwon, inseok, chanyou, junesong@nclab.kaist.ac.kr or you can also contact the Intel representative at: lama.nachman@intel.com.

The app is due to be debuted this September at a conference in Pittsburgh, PA. More information on when it will go to market should be available at that time.

*by andreascy*