Wearable computing and contextual awareness
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
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Computer hardware continues to shrink in size and increase in capability. This trend has allowed the prevailing concept of a computer to evolve from the mainframe to the minicomputer to the desktop. Just as the physical hardware changes, so does the use of the technology, tending towards more interactive and personal systems. Currently, another physical change is underway, placing computational power on the user's body. These wearable machines encourage new applications that were formerly infeasible and, correspondingly, will result in new usage patterns. This thesis suggests that the fundamental improvement offered by wearable computing is an increased sense of user context. I hypothesize that on-body systems can sense the user's context with little or no assistance from environmental infrastructure. These body-centered systems that "see" as the user sees and "hear" as the user hears, provide a unique "first-person" viewpoint of the user's environment. By exploiting models recovered by these systems, interfaces are created which require minimal directed action or attention by the user. In addition, more traditional applications are augmented by the contextual information recovered by these systems. To investigate these issues, I provide perceptually sensible tools for recovering and modeling user context in a mobile, everyday environment. These tools include a downward-facing, camera-based system for establishing the location of the user; a tag-based object recognition system for augmented reality; and several on-body gesture recognition systems to identify various user tasks in constrained environments. To address the practicality of contextually-aware wearable computers, issues of power recovery, heat dissipation, and weight distribution are examined. In addition, I have encouraged a community of wearable computer users at the Media Lab through design, management, and support of hardware and software infrastructure. This unique community provides a heightened awareness of the use and social issues of wearable computing. As much as possible, the lessons from this experience will be conveyed in the thesis.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 1999.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 231-248).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Architecture. Program in Media Arts and Sciences.