18th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) + Pervasive & Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp), Seattle, USA.

HMD fashions ;-)

ISWC + UbiComp is my favourite international twinning of conferences: ISWC showcases some of the most exciting developments in wearable computing and because the papers are reviewed by great academics, the quality of the papers selected is, in my opinion, excellent. UbiComp is great too, because it also has a high standard of accepted papers, which cover many topics across pervasive and ubiquitous computing that crossover with wearable tech interests. The conference took place in the rather nice conference areas of the Motif Hotel in Seattle, USA, September 2014.

Amy Ross keynote on designing spacesuits for NASA

For me, the most compelling presentation of the conference was the keynote given by Amy Ross of NASA, which gave us a fascinating insight into the history of the evolution (to the present) of what goes into the design and creation of space suits. I really enjoyed all the details of what worked and didn’t, plus the fab examples she brought along such as wrist mirrors for looking at spacesuit components, gloves (which I tried on) and even an emergency handbook of advice for astronauts!

Emergency instructions for astronauts -Amy Ross keynote on designing spacesuits at NASA

Me wearing spacesuit gloves - Amy Ross keynote on designing spacesuits at NASA

Astronauts mirror for looking at spacesuit items - Amy Ross keynote on designing spacesuits at NASA

A session that I particularly enjoyed was on assistive technology and included presentations on Passive Haptic Learning of Braille Typing by Caitlyn Seim, John Chandler, Kayla DesPortes, Siddharth Dhingra, Miru Park, Thad Starner, and Assistive EyeWear Prototype that interactively converts 3D Object Locations into Spatial Audio by Titus J. J. Tang, Wai Ho Li. Another interesting session on human behaviour included talks on Privacy Behaviors of Lifeloggers using Wearable Cameras by Roberto Hoyle, Robert Templeman, Steven Armes, Denise Anthony, David Crandall, Apu Kapadia and Connecting Personal-scale Sensing and Networked Community Behavior to Infer Human Activities by Nicholas D Lane, Li Pengyu, Lin Zhou, Feng Zhao.

There are short summaries of all the sessions on the ISWC website, where you can find the whole program or proceedings can be downloaded from ACM though this might incur a fee. Also worth a look through is the list of demos and posters – where I exhibited a poster for my PhD research and demo-ed my EEG Visualising Pendant.

An interesting addition to this year’s ISWC/UbiComp was the experimental addition of a number of telepresence robots for those wishing to attend but could not physically get to Seattle. I found the robots really intriguing to watch as they weaved around the conference rooms and people stopped to chat to their controllers. These were a good addition to the conference in my opinion and I was pleased to see at least one robot personalised with a scarf. As I won’t be able to afford to attend next year’s conference in Osaka, Japan, I will definitely be applying for one of the robots if they’re used again!

Interaction with telepresence robots has been fascinating

Telepresence attendees

During the conference there was a Seattle Quantified Self + ISWC + Ubicomp meet-up, which was great as I got to show my EEG Visualising Pendant to a new audience and meet some lovely and interesting people, including David Cooper, who organises the Seattle QS meet-ups and had coincidentally brought his Muse EEG headset along, which was nicely fortuitous as I was waiting for my Muse to be delivered at home and was eager to chat about the device. David also pointed me towards some interesting Github repositories to investigate.

David &t his Muse EEG headband at Seattle + ISWC + Ubicomp Quantified Self meetup

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