This month, Nike released, the Fuelband SE, its latest piece of wearable tech. The proliferation of devices that enable users to track everything from distance travelled to calories burned is an exciting development for the research industry.
But the Fuelband SE, like its competitors, only logs quantitative data. Recording qualitative information falls outside its remit. As tech giants such as Apple and Google turn their eyes to the development of smart watches, however, this may not be far off.
Facilitating a greater level of interaction between the device and its owner, it's likely that smart watches will allow users to record both quantitative and qualitative information, opening huge opportunities for qualitative researchers. If, one day, wearable tech could be used to collect and overlay behavioural data with qualitative information, researchers would be able to gain a detailed insight not only into the wearer's actual behaviour but their motivations, too.
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, November 2013
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2013