Last month I attended ISWC (International Symposium on Wearable Computers) / Ubicomp (Ubiquitous Computing) in Seattle, USA. I was honoured to be selected to take part in the ISWC Doctoral School Colloquium as it attracts excellent students from around the world in the field of wearable computing, as does the Ubicomp DS for ubiquitous computing researchers. I hadn’t attended a Doctoral School before, so was really excited to take part and hear about the work of others, plus get some feedback on my own research. The Doctoral School began with both ISWC and Ubicomp students getting together bright and early at 08:30 for introductions, I’d hardly had any sleep or rather had been awake from 12am Seattle time as I was so jet lagged and doolally from the 10-hour flight from London, so was stumbling around a little. After the introductions, we had a keynote on the life of a research student from Professor Shwetak N. Patel of the University of Washington, then split off into two groups for ISWC and Ubicomp. There were many varied and interesting research projects and each student gave a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation on their work, followed by feedback from the academic panel and peers.
For my presentation, I discussed how my research investigates the possibility that wearable technology can be used to create new forms of non-verbal communication via physiological data, my thesis focusing on the following issues:
- Responsive & Emotive wearables + my practice
- Data / privacy
- Relationships – the personal, social and cultural
- Requirements – who is this tech for?
- What the technology might it be!
- Aesthetics / design considerations / UX
- The maker & the market in bespoke wearables
I gave a summary of my methods and methodologies, including focus groups, surveys and field trials. Also how I will disseminate the data via thematic analysis: emphasizes pinpointing, examining and recording patterns or themes within data (qualitative) & statistical analysis from surveys (quantitative). I concluded with possible contributions to the field.
This was followed up with some interesting and useful feedback and discussion on various aspects of my research with the academic panel and peers, on areas such as framing and narrowing down questions and problem solving. We also discussed the accuracy of current technology being used for sensing physiological data and its value to the user. The Doctoral School was an amazing opportunity to start conversations and get feedback on my research, which continued through the duration of the conference.
The Doctoral School concluded with Q&A session with all the academic panelists to discuss issues around making the decision between following a career in academia and industry. This brought up many interesting questions and comparisons, around themes such as long distance relationships, workloads and working abroad.
All Doctoral School students also presented their work as part of the Posters and Demos Reception, a list of which can be found here I exhibited a poster and demo-ed my EEG Visualising Pendant, which attracted a lot of interest and questions from attendees of both ISWC and Ubicomp.
The Doctoral School was an excellent experience – for getting feedback on one’s research from academics and peers, hearing about what others around the globe were interested in and researching, plus meeting and making new friends – so totally worth the 10-hour flight and disorientating jet-lag!