Thursday, 3 May 2007

Analysis of the usability and HCI problems

Before we can make technology useful, we must understand the ways in which it can be used. Wearable computing is a pervasive computing technology that will make interaction between humans and computers much easier. However we must acknowlegde that no sophisticated hardware will make up for a poor interface.

We need to address closely how people prefer/like to interact with the real world and each other. This could be in a verbal or gestured manner guess it depends on how the individual wants to communicate. If we understand how to combine interfaces and applications which support people and their way of life we will be beneifiting them much more not just becoming another problem in their way.

Here are some key issues that need to be addressed before this technology can become widely availiable:-

- User interfaces and wearability are still open problems, even 10 years research. Testing and prototyping need to be tigther and more thorough to achieve the expected results.

- The testing of wearable computing needs to be done under realistic conditions. Therefore by conducting tests in this way we are not only solving problems but doing so in a theoretical and practical manner.

- Wearable computing isn't just about exploring the capabilities of the devices we are able wear but also about breaking through new barriers of technology to make them useful to us in a way never imagined or done before.

A large majority of wearable computing availiable today has some sort of text input device such as wrist-worn keyboards that have adopted the minimization method of reducing keys. This reduction has caused many problems such as KSPC (Keystrokes per Character), decreases text entry performance, and requires additional effort to learn a new typing method. Due to the keyboard being much smaller users will struggle alot more to type messages in and also be prone to more errors.

We are faced with wearability and usability in designing a good wearable keyboard to accompany our wearable computing devises. A japanses company has taken this upon themselves to try to address this problem and they have come out with a new keyboard minimization method of reducing key pitch and have developed the "One-key Keyboard".

The traditional desktop keyboard has one key per character, but One-key Keyboard has only one key (70mmX35mm) on which a 10*5 QWERTY key array is printed. One-key Keyboard detects the position of the fingertip at the time of the keying event and figures out the character entered. Although there is a wide variety of wearable computing devices becoming availiable they will not all be successful as anticipated if they are not tested for useability and HCI principles but we can see that improvements are going to great lengths to make products work. This is the just the beginning for wearable computing this will be a future evolving technology that will make a difference to the way we see, hear and learn new things.


History of Wearable Computing

Wiki (26 April 2007) 'Wearable Computer' [online] [cited on 20 April 2007]
Available on URL:

Advantages of Wearable Computing

DeVaul R (2007) 'Why use a Wearable' [online] [cited on 26 April 2007] Available on URL:

Vivometrics (2007) 'VivoMetrics' [online] [cited on 22 April] Available on URL:

ags (2007) 'Wearable Computing' [online] [cited on 28 April 2007] Available on URL:

Disadvantages of Wearable Computing

DeVaul R (2007) 'Why use a Wearable' [online] [cited on 26 April 2007] Available on URL:

How Wearable Computing is being used?

Cliff R (2007) 'The Shopping Jacket: Wearable Computing for Consumer' [online] [cited on 27 April 2007] Available on URL:

What is Wearable Computing?

wearcam (2007) 'Definition of Wearable Computing'[online] [cited on 02 May 2007] Available on URL:

Ssoendker (16 April 2007) 'ZyPAD Industrial Rugged Wearable Computer from Arcom'[online] [cited on 23 April 2007] Available on URL:

What is Pervasive Computing?

Wikipedia (2007) 'Ubiquitous computing' [online] [cited on 26 April 2007] available at URL:

Analysis of the usability and HCI problems

'One Keyboard' [online] [cited on 3rd May 2007] availiable at

'The MIThril Vision' [online] [cited on 3rd May 2007] availiable at

'On Site Maintenance Using a Wearable Computer System' [online] [cited on 3rd May 2007] availiable at

Civil Liberty

Daniel Sieberg, 2001 [Online,]

Francisco Javier Arias Moreno, 2007 [Online,]

(Mann, Nolan and Wellman: Sousveillance, 2003) [Online,]

Civil Liberty

A major challenge in wearable computing is preserving privacy, in particular against the distribution of personal information and potential abuses. Wearable computers can be used as a surveillance technology, a service and other social means that we have defined in this blog. We will be concentrating on security issues regarding wearable computers.

When technology is used as surveillance, there can be many advantages for example in Tokyo, Kasumigaseki Station a CCTV with computerized Facial Recognition System, scans the image of a person and then compares it to a database with facial images based on biometric cameras. Only if the user is recognized then they are allowed entry onto a train (Francisco Javier Arias Moreno, 2007), this helps with recognizing potential criminals and terrorists. Technology has grown tremendously over the years, wearable computers have been introduced and they consist of features such features as, a notepad, talking reminder and weather forecast. Additional features like a wearable that scans people and then compares it to a database (similar to the Tokyo CCTV system) are being developed for the army, SWAT etc. These wearable’s can withstand walking, running and can scan multiple faces instantly (Daniel Sieberg, 2001). Wearable computers are adapting to withstand, the rigor of the society and can be adapted for many new uses such as scanning a persons body posture, so even if he grown a mustache or beard he will still be recognized. Hence the potential for wearable computers to contain such features and more would mean a very powerful tool for combating crime… or spying on civilians.

If a person is being scanned without their knowledge or permission this can be very distressing and it’s an invasion of privacy, further so if that person is denied a service (the example of the train). A research paper by (Mann, Nolan and Wellman: Sousveillance, 2003) showed there are various methods in using technology for surveillance (where people can see the image and image capture device, image displayed but wearable device is hidden, complete objection to surveillance…) society usually accept or are even amused by the prospect of them appearing on a screen from a wonderful technology, that could be hidden or apparent. However some people are adamant that surveillance as a whole is too far, as there is so many cameras around anyway, we are being watched everywhere we go and psychological profiles are being created about us. People with wearable’s can be placed inside a crowd and could interact like normal people and capture images, personal information, habits, bank details etc. on their wearable which is uploaded to a computer instantly. If this data gets lost or stolen this could be very harmful to the society, as sensitive information can be used by criminals to commit fraud and further crimes.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

History of Wearable Computing

Old Wearable Computer

Wearable Computers were first introduced in the 1500's with the pocket watch. The first wearable computer that fits into the 20th century image was a computer designed to predict Roulette Wheels, this was invented in 1961 by Edward O Thorpe. A data tracker hidden in his shoes would track the speed of the Roulette Wheels and the computer would indicate what to bet on.

In 1967, Hubert Upton developed a technology which allowed the person wearing the glasses to lip read, this was using the LED device.

Even in the 1980's and the 1990's wearable computers were being created.

Many people think that wearable computers can now be taken full advantage of as the technology has developed over the years and the wearable computers can now become more comfortable to wear and it will not be the case of devices hanging of the persons clothes.

Disadvantages of Wearable Computing:

There are many disadvantages of using Wearable Computing. Below are a list compiled by the author of this post.

- Equipment can be heavy

- Expensive

- Some Wearable Computers can consist of alot of wiring

- Can cause iritation in heat

- Side-Effects such as Headaches

- Wearable Computers can invade privacy

- Can be used to gain an unfair advantage over others such as Casinos

- Being tracked wherever you go

- Costly

- It may become easier to get data on an individual if the item is

Advantages of Wearable Computing:

The advantages of Wearable Computers are:-

- Enhanced Communication

- Wearable Computers can be used to recognise a person in a high alerted area such as an airport.

- A personal Wearable will facilitate the wearers needs

- Unlikely to be dropped or lost as their are embedded to the clothes
as opposed to the handheld devices.

- Able to use wearable computers to complete daily tasks such
as a computer which tracks the movements and habits of a person.

- Flexibility

- Freedom

- Work from anywhere

- Convenience

- Makes tasks more easier such as Wearable Computers can be used by Surgeons (a Wearable Computer attached to their arms),which can allow data to be transferred to their computers, this can save time where the surgeons can look at the wearable for information, this will help improve the efficiency of an operation.

Here is a prime example of a great advantage of wearable computing. There is a special shirt developed by VivoMetrics to monitor patients at hospitals, and which can also be used to accelerate new treatment trials.

Future of Wearable Computing:

Wearable Computers would dominate in the near future, years ago you would not have thought that you could do some of the things you can do today as computers are getting smaller and more powerful they can be integrated into virtually anything.
Now you can class your mobile phone as a mobile computer as you can get phones that can be used take photos, surf the internet, msn messenger, mp3 player, video recorder, video playback, create documents, view documents, create games and many other things mobile phones are now more powerful than computers 10 years ago, you can do most of the things on a phone that you can do on a PC. This does not mean that the mobile phone itself will be a wearable computer in the future. We believe that all electronic devices will be able to communicate with each other and recognize who you are similar to minority report where eyes are scanned to welcome a person instead of scanning your eyes it will be scanning any electronic devices that you may be carrying, this would bring in to the picture security because then if you loose a device or it is stolen then if someone finds it they may be able to find out everything about you. It could also be used to track people this could work as a good and bad thing as if the police where tracking someone it could help but on the other hand if a stalker/murderer was tracking movements to find out when he can strike it could make it easier.

Below is a video of how wearable computers can be implemented in the future:

How Wearable Computing is being used?

Wearable Computers is being used by more people day by day such as:-

+ Shopping Jackets can be used to aid shoppers allowing them to browse the goods in the shops before even stepping foot into the shop. The computer would first verify what shop the person is closet to and then bring up the website for the shop.

+ Wearable Computers are used in Medical Establishments to use to analyse Data, monitor patients. This will allow the doctors to concentrate on the patients more then the computer screen showing details.

+ Airports are also using Wearable Computers to identify suspicious passengers using Face Recognition System.

SCOTTeVEST (SeV) claims that its functional and fashionable jackets are so innovative that they are even worn by the Secret Service. The jackets have up to 42 hidden, ergonomically designed pockets and are equipped with the still patent-pending Personal Area Network (PAN). The PAN allows users to carry and use electronic devices without the mess of dangling wires. SCOTTeVEST comes in different colors and designs, suitable for outdoor activities, business and personal travel. The newest product is the solar-panel prototype.

Where is Wearable Computing being used?

Emergency services

Many emergency services are able to use wearable computers such as the fire service who use them send and receive information from an accident site

Field services

Wearable computers can also make maintenance services more productive. A field technician wearing a computer can access useful technical instructions and schematics in order to rapidly solve problems while working, thanks to the hands free capabilities.


Medical and paramedical staff can use wearable computers to identify, in real time, a patient's clinical history in order to make a faster and more accurate clinical diagnosis. They can enable medical and paramedical staff to quickly access databases and, in the near future, to read medical data from electronic bracelets worn by patients. Wearable computers will be particularly useful in preventing errors due to medical record MIX-UPS or the misreading of a patient's data.

Queue busting

Wearable computers can serve as useful instruments when managing crowds for sporting or musical events, or in other busy places, such as airports, they can streamline the entire check-in process as well as facilitate the general monitoring of an individual's or a group's movements. In fact, a wrist worn computer allows employees to circulate among passengers to perform any necessary checks eliminating the need for a fixed terminal. In addition, this system can increase customer satisfaction by making staff operations more efficient without sacrificing security standards, staff will have quick access and full visibility of customers' data including: name, ticket number, seat assignment and baggage status.

Transportation and logistics


Computers with built in barcode readers may be used in warehouses they will reduce the amount of mistakes by warehouse pickers also it will reduce the amount of paperwork in warehouses as order will not have to be printed out they will be emailed to the picker on the computer it will also help management track the amount of work people are doing and how log tasks are taking

What is Wearable Computing?

Wearable Technology is a portable computer that is included into the space of a user, this can be worn anywhere around the body and can be hands free use. Wearable technology is controlled by the user which is operational and is always on and accessible. Particularly it is a device that is always with the user, the user is able to enter commands and execute a set of entered commands whilst the user is walking around or doing any other activity.

Wearable Technologies such as a Wearable Computer (WearComp), is more than just a wristwatch or regular eyeglasses: it has the full functionality of a computer system but in addition to being a fully featured computer, it is also inextricably intertwined with the wearer. This is what sets the wearable computer apart from other wearable devices such as wristwatches, regular eyeglasses, wearable radios, etc. Unlike these other wearable devices that are not programmable (reconfigurable), the wearable computer is as reconfigurable as the familiar desktop or mainframe computer.

Below are examples of Wearable Computing:-

- Glasses that use image to sound renderings (help blind people)
- Computers that can be used as a wrist watch
- Gloves that enable users to make music by waving/clapping hands (the hand band)
-Wrist watch television
-Computer built into shoes that automatically adjusts to support you