Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Massachusetts Scientists Developing Wearable Computer That Learns

Date:
January 6, 2000
Source:
University Of Massachusetts
Summary:
"At the grocery store, most people will wait until I'm past them, and then stop and stare," says Andy Fagg of the computer science faculty at the University of Massachusetts. Fagg, who is developing a wearable computer, is accustomed to the double takes. People don't generally see a guy strolling through the frozen foods aisle wearing an apparatus that positions a tiny computer screen in front of his face.

It isn't about writing a paper while you're in line at the grocery store

Related Articles


AMHERST, Mass. - "At the grocery store, most people will wait until I'm past them, and then stop and stare," says Andy Fagg of the computer science faculty at the University of Massachusetts. Fagg, who is developing a wearable computer, is accustomed to the double takes. People don't generally see a guy strolling through the frozen foods aisle wearing an apparatus that positions a tiny computer screen in front of his face.

"As general computing systems become smaller, we are reaching a point at which it becomes conceivable to don these devices as easily as shoes, a jacket, or a baseball cap," says Fagg. "This offers us access to information and communication resources at any time during our waking hours. It isn't about being able to write a paper or send email while you're on line at the grocery store. It's about having digital assistance as you go about your life."

Fagg's aim is to teach the computer to "notice" a user's routines and offer information accordingly. For instance, if the computer notices that he enters a conference room at a particular time, "it should figure out I'm going to a meeting and pull out appropriate documents, including minutes of the last meeting, and notes from related discussions." He offers another example: "I could tell the system I'm going to be cooking a certain recipe for dinner. The system will know what I have in the kitchen cabinets at home. If I drive near the grocery store, it wakes up and whispers, 'Don't forget to stop at the grocery store, and by the way, you need these three items for the dinner you want to cook tonight.'"

The system is constructed from off-the-shelf components that Fagg put together "with a bit of my own soldering." It is not yet elegant. There is a hand-held keyboard the size of a traditional computer mouse. Machinery is crammed into a blue canvas camera bag, with an odd assortment of wires projecting from it. Two batteries provide half of the device's six-pound weight. There is an assortment of serial ports and video ports, a headset with earphones and a video monitor, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, like the ones in upscale cars. Although the GPS receiver only works outside, "one of my projects right now is finding a way to provide similar information indoors," he says. When the screen is positionedcorrectly, it looks as though it's floating a few feet in front of the viewer.

One current challenge, Fagg says, is teaching the computer to interrupt him - politely. "The machine should present information at the appropriate time, and in the appropriate way. I don't care what I need at the grocery store if I'm sitting in my office," he points out. "Nor do I want it to convey information visually while I'm driving the car, although it's okay for it to occasionally whisper in my ear."

It's possible to make wearable computers because microprocessors are getting smaller every year, according to Fagg. Commercial wearable systems are already available, he says, although they are aimed at very specific industrial markets. "The systems are becoming more stable and more comfortable," Fagg says. "Ultimately, a lot of the bulk will be gone."

While some might see a wearable computer as a bit of a pest, Fagg sees it differently: "The machine doesn't nag you after the fact, when you've gotten home and forgotten to buy a gallon of milk. It reminds you to pick up the milk when you're still in a position to solve the problem."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Massachusetts. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Massachusetts. "University Of Massachusetts Scientists Developing Wearable Computer That Learns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000106082911.htm>.
University Of Massachusetts. (2000, January 6). University Of Massachusetts Scientists Developing Wearable Computer That Learns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000106082911.htm
University Of Massachusetts. "University Of Massachusetts Scientists Developing Wearable Computer That Learns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000106082911.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Recharge Your Phone in 30 Seconds? Israeli Firm Says It Can

Recharge Your Phone in 30 Seconds? Israeli Firm Says It Can

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 28, 2014) With consumers demanding more and more from their mobile devices, scientists in Israel and Singapore are developing super fast-charging batteries to power them. Amy Pollock has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Predictions Of Tablets' Demise Sound Familiar

Predictions Of Tablets' Demise Sound Familiar

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The tablet's days are numbered, at least according to a recent IDC report. The market-research firm paints a grim outlook for tablets. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins