Technology’s change on campus

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Story by Breanna SillStaff writer

Living in a world where people camp out in the street just to purchase the newest iPhone the day it releases, but cannot remember the last time they mailed a handwritten letter to someone they know, is proof that technology is constantly progressing and becoming the new norm.

The world’s first personal computer was introduced in 1975 by IBM and weighed approximately 50 pounds. Now, only 40 years later, students on Murray State’s campus are able to carry the equivalent to the first personal computer, plus so much more, in a device as compact as a wrist watch.

In early 2015, Apple, Inc., announced its launch of the Apple Watch. With the Apple Watch, people are not only able to tell time, but they can answer and return phone calls and text messages and check their social media apps.

Bryan Beals, junior from Owensboro, Kentucky, recently purchased the Apple Watch and said the wearable technology has made a large impact on his life.

“I am a frequent runner,” he said. “I really use the Workout feature as it tracks my distance, time, heart rate and my pace. This was a good way to adjust to different workouts and track my progress.”

Beals did say that constantly having access to the technology can be a distraction at times when he should be paying attention to things like work or class.

“I admit it can get distracting sometimes,” he said. “It’s important to realize that all of our technology is a tool and the user determines the productivity of the device.”

It is not just Apple that is taking the wearable technology trend by storm. In 2014, Google released its highly anticipated Google Glass.

Google Glass is a pair of glasses that allow users to take photos or videos just by blinking and share them with others, set reminders, see upcoming or current weather conditions, dictate text messages using a built-in microphone and catch up on headline news through Google Glass apps.

Murray State has Google Glass available for rent from the University Libraries. Although it is only available for faculty to check out at this time, the technology is something that Elizabeth Price, Interim Coordinator of the Faculty Development Center, said is not at its full potential.

“I think its purpose right now is to be worn and used to record and get a first person perspective,” she said. “Is that always the thing we need though? Because sometimes a video can be done a different way, so it’s not necessary. It doesn’t do enough to make it required.”

While she feels the technology is not at the level that it is capable of reaching, she does think wearable technology is something that will continue to progress, although it could come with a few setbacks. For example, privacy.

“At what point could a doctor, insurance company or law enforcement official subpoena this data to use against me?” she said. “Or in a less harmful way, advertisers?”