A device that allows parents to keep a watch on what their children are viewing, even when apart, has been developed by researchers at the University of Tsukuba.
The technology builds on existing devices that can track the location of a child, but this gadget also monitors what the child is seeing, and even their pulse. If a child's heart rate is faster than usual, it snaps a photo of their point-of-view and alerts parents via email.
AdvertisementA password-protected website allows parents to access an activity log and photos taken during the day.
Along with a camera, the device holds an accelerometer with gyroscope, a GPS receiver and a digital compass. The heart rate monitor sits under clothing.
"The devices have been sturdy and have endured kids falling off of play equipment and accidentally hitting them," New Scientist quoted Seung-Hee Lee as saying.
To minimize exposure to electromagnetic waves, the units are set to emit signals that are only a hundredth of what an average cellphone emits.
Currently, each device costs roughly 100,000 yen (800 pounds) but with cheaper sensors, the team aims to manufacture the devices for half that price.
Lee also sees the device being used in the care of people with dementia.
However, many believe that it would ruffle a few feathers in Europe and US, if not in Japan.
"Standards of privacy are low here. In the US or Europe, there would be much more controversy surrounding such child-tracking devices," said Kenji Kiyonaga, who researches child safety at Japan Women's University in Tama, Kawasaki.
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