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7th IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers

October 21-23, 2003

Crowne Plaza Hotel, White Plains, NY 10601

Sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society


New! Tutorial slides now available.

Making Computers Wearable

by Susan Watkins and Lucy Dunne

The future of computer wearables lies in their acceptance by the mass market. One of the main reasons that wearable computers have not been adopted by great numbers of the general public is that the relationship between computer components and apparel has not been adequately addressed. This tutorial provides the basic framework through which participants can address wearability issues for their products and research. It will discuss the traditional functions of clothing, and how electronics may augment or inhibit those functions. Topics include: the use of a modified systems engineering design process to facilitate the generation and selection of novel solutions to existing problems; designing for the human body (issues such as weight distribution of electronic components, mapping variations in pressure sensitivity of the skin, mobility and range of motion, and the effects of added heat stress from electronics); garment structure, construction, and the adaptation of existing garment features (such as padding, fasteners and structural elements) to aid in integration of electronics and to maximize system functionality; and re-conceptualizing wearable computers for mass-market acceptance. The tutorial will conclude with an overview of resources for prototyping wearable systems, including educational literature, apparel research literature, and sourcing of textiles and notions. There are no prerequisites for this tutorial.

More information about Making Computers Wearable

Susan Watkins, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University and Designer/ Manager of Portable Environments, LLC, and a has been designing, writing, teaching and conducting research in the field of functional clothing for over 30 years. She has worked for industry, governmental agencies and academia on projects for a wide variety of end users from Navy pilots to hockey players to nursing home residents to Drug Enforcement agents. She has lectured across the country on protective clothing design. In 1991, Watkins was named a Fellow of the International Textiles and Apparel Association for her pioneering work with protective clothing.

Lucy Dunne is a Masters candidate in Apparel Design at Cornell University, and is pursuing an Associates Degree in Electrical Technology at Tompkins Cortland Community College. In her research, she seeks to bridge the gap between designers of technology and designers of apparel. Her previous work in wearable integration of technology has been presented at several conferences and has received widespread media attention. Lucy has worked in fashion design, functional apparel design for the military and intelligent clothing design. She is a Teaching Assistant at Cornell University.

Introduction to Wearable Computing

by Thad Starner and Bradley Rhodes

This tutorial will provide an intense introduction to the field of wearable computing from both the research and commercial viewpoints. It will highlight both past success stories and upcoming challenges from both a commercial and research perspective. Questions that will be addressed will include what design issues for wearables, current and future markets for wearables, and when and how wearable computing products might go mainstream? Research questions that will be discussed include what intellectual contributions are unique to wearable computers and not shared with laptops or PDAs, and how wearables fit in with the larger question of intelligence augmentation.

Thad Starner is a professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. He completed one of the first PhDs on wearable computing while at MIT and has been using a wearable computer as an integral part of his everyday life since 1993.

Bradley Rhodes is a research scientist at Ricoh Innovations in Menlo Park, California. He completed his PhD work at MIT in Software Agents, and combined agent technology with wearable computing to create applications that can best be described as Intelligence Augmentation.

Experimental Design for Wearable Computing

by Vicka Corey and Rich DeVaul

How can you find out exactly how much your new application helps users with the task you intended it to, or how much wearing it interferes with the tasks of daily life? Well-designed experiments are the key. In this workshop, we propose to discuss with participants ways in which they can create testable hypotheses, collect analyzable data, and describe experimental results relevant to their work.

Key topics covered will be the creation of null hypotheses, control groups, efficient designs, and p-values. Participants will be encouraged to discuss their own work and come up with strong experimental designs applicable to their own investigations.

Vicka Corey is an Instructor in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and taught a class in Experimental Design and Analysis at the University of Washington. She has participated in the design and analysis of experiments involving wearable computers at the MIT Media Lab.

Rich DeVaul is a wearables researcher at the Media Lab. He has conducted several well-designed experiments which have produced interesting findings for wearable technology and for the study of human cognition. They presented a poster session (complete with significant p-value) at ISWC 2002.

Wearable Computers for Persons with Disabilities

by Maribeth Gandy
Slides coming soon.

The goal of this tutorial is to provide attendees with a survey of issues related to wearable computing for persons with disabilities. Topics to be covered will include a discussion of why accessibility and universal design are important, along with information on current accessibility techniques and relevant legislation. The research activities of the recently established Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC), which focuses on wireless and mobile devices for people with disabilities, will be summarized. There will also be a detailed look at previous wearable research in the disability domain. The process of designing a wearable system for persons with disabilities will be discussed along with a relevant case study that illustrates some of the unique challenges in this type of research. Lastly, the tutorial will focus on the future directions that wearable computing for disabilities can take with the goal of motivating attendees to consider these issues while carrying out their research. The intended audience for this tutorial includes researchers and developers in wearable or mobile computing who are interested in learning more about how their work can aid those with disabilities. However, a high level of technical knowledge will not be necessary to benefit from this tutorial.

Bio: Maribeth Gandy is a Research Scientist with the Interactive Media Technology Center at Georgia Tech where she has worked as a student or full-time faculty member since 1998. Maribeth holds a bachelors degree in computer engineering and a master's degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. Her research interests include augmented/virtual reality, wearable computing, human computer interaction, computer vision, and computer audio. Her work at IMTC often includes research in new areas of computing or human computer interaction coupled with development and implementation of real world systems based on her research. The products of her research have contributed to multiple scientific publications, patent filings, and spin-off companies. Recently, she was part of the team that was granted a $5,000,000 grant from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research to establish a Center for the development of wireless mobile devices for persons with disabilities. Ms. Gandy's projects have included a virtual reality system for historical recreations of dramatic performances, a wearable computing device to recognize hand gestures, a low cost audio-based augmented reality platform, software to aid surgeons during brain-surgery, and software that allows designers to create AR experiences. Starting in 2002 she was granted a teaching fellowship to create and teach a new course in the College of Computing focused on computer audio. She is also a representative to the INCITS V2 standards committee developing the Alternative Interface Access Protocol, an emerging standard for interaction between mobile devices and the environment.

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