ETH Z├╝rich

Department of Computer Science
Distributed Systems Group

Fachseminar Ubiquitous Computing SS2000:

Wearable computing, body area networks, neue Mensch-Maschine-Interfaces
Polly Huang


For a while, I thought clock towers are simply pretty landmarks (or tourist attractions) and pondered, "why clocks?", if they only needed to be pretty. Then I found that the weird-looking piece of furniture (a bench I suppose) by the RZ entrance is really a retired Cray. Suddenly, the existence of clock towers makes sense. They, clock towers and retired Crays, don't mean to become landmarks or furnitures at the first place. Once they both played a very different role as the most important computers to get time or data. It took a little time for me to realize because more easily accessible wrist watches and PCs have taken over that role. Notice 'easily accessible'? If accessibility is the key, then the next generation computers should be even more easily accessible -- something that we can wear with us all the time, just like the wrist watches. Such computers are called wearable computers. If we think today that watches are indispensable, maybe one day we will think the same for wearable computers. Or many have already thought so if cellular phones qualify as wearable computers.

Wearable computing is currently an active area undergoing research, and this talk is intended as an overview. We begin with a brief walk-through of the history and terminology, followed by discussion on potential area of applications. Then, we take a closer look at existing technologies and research issues in four major area: I/O interface, communication, power, and heat. Finally, in addition to showing wearable computing applications in slides, we plan to demonstrate the 'augmented memory agent' software released by MIT media lab.

Written notes: [.pdf]

Last modified: Mon May 8 08:50:13 MET DST 2000 ml