Category Archives: wearable computing

AnemoneStarHeart at ISWC Design Exhibition, 2016, Heidelberg, Germany.

Last month (September 2016) I traveled to Heidelberg, Germany, for the 20th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC), held at the gorgeous art nouveau Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg. ISWC is the world’s foremost symposium for issues pertaining to on the body and worn wearable technologies and shares a conference venue with Ubicomp, concerned with ubiquitous computing. The symposium attracts attendees from all over the world: from researchers to designers, start-ups and manufacturers, all eager to hear about the latest advances and products, prototypes and related information.
ISWC 2016
Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg, venue for ISWC/Ubicomp 2016

2016 is my 5th year of attending ISWC and my 5th year of exhibiting my wearable tech work in its Design Exhibition, which requires the submission of a paper to a jury who select work to appear at the exhibition in the categories of Aesthetic, Functional and Fibre Arts. The exhibition took place in the Sebastian Münster Saal of Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg over 3 days of the symposium.

Setting up Anemonestarheart for ISWC Design Exhibition


This year I exhibited my AnemoneStarHeart EEG pendant, an emotive wearable and multifunctional device. It is an illuminated, 3D printed heart-shaped pendant, that is an iteration of my 2013 EEG Visualising Pendant for social situations. It evolved via input from my focus group and field trial feedback looking at potential wearers of emotive wearables. Its aim is to be used for visualising and displaying EEG data between couples, close friends and family, either worn, held or used to light up a room via its super bright RGB LEDs. It is also a device to aid the wearer’s relaxation or productivity monitoring purposes, for example through meditation. The device maps ‘meditation’ and ‘attention’ data sent from an EEG headset and displays it by illuminating the AnemoneStarHeart pendant accordingly. If you would like to read my ISWC paper on AnemoneStarHeart, it’s available from the ACM Digital Library or please ask for a copy.

AnemoneStarHeart ready for ISWC Design Exhibition

Highlights of the Design Exhibition included: Jorge & Esther’s Programmable Plaid dress, Lucie Hernandez encouraged play through textiles with her Touchplay: Crafting Material Affinities work, Berit Greinke et al’s Interactive Workwear: Smart Maintenance Jacket, and Sally-Sue Lee et al’s Fleurtech: Transformable Smart Dress, which changed in length for changing situations and contexts. Details of all exhibits can be found here. Thanks very much to James Hallam for his tireless work as Design Exhibition chair this year. If you’d like to read my paper on AnemoneStarHeart it’s available from the ACM or ask me for a copy.

Design Exhibition at ISWC

Jorge & Esther’s Programmable Plaid dress.

Before the full conference began I attended two days of workshops. The first was run as a collaboration of MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School, Saarland University and Microsoft Research: (UnderWare) Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies. It  comprised of an exciting day of presentations from researchers and designers from around the world of their amazing wearable technology prototypes to be worn on the skin. There included many questions and discussion on subjects as diverse as ethics to the challenges of retail/production

Marina Toeters at MIT + Microsoft Underware:Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies workshop

(UnderWare) Aesthetic, Expressive, and Functional On-Skin Technologies workshop, Marina Toeters presenting.

Troy & his diabetic 3D printed shoe

One of Troy Nachtigall’s diabetic shoe prototypes at the Underware workshop.

On day two, I attended Collective Adaptation in Very Large Scale Ubicomp: Towards a Superorganism of Wearables, a fascinating workshop which discussed how connected devices could shape planetary supeorganism networks and looked at questions such as how we program these as a single system to work for us and help us in everyday situations from crowd control to infrastructure and the management of large complex hubs such as transport or hospital management.

Cindy Hsin Lio Kao's amazing DuoSkin tattoos

Cindy Hsin Lio Kao et al’s amazing DuoSkin tattoos.

The conference then spanned the next three days with sessions focusing on topics from fabrics, textiles and skin made smart to haptics, activity recognition and sensing, extended realities, industry and interaction. More details can be found on the ISWC website and papers can be found in the proceedings. The final day keynote was given by Rosalind Picard, whose work with affective computing has been an important and inspirational contribution to my field in physiological data capturing wearables. I was lucky enough to meet her and briefly show her my AnemoneStarHeart pendant.

Honoured to meet Ros Picard at ISWC after her keynote

Meeting Rosalind Picard after her keynote at ISWC.

ISWC/Ubicomp is going to be held in Maui, Hawaii, next year! In order to take part I’m going to need some serious funding, so please send any ideas/opportunities for financing my trip.

ThinkerBelle Fibre Optic EEG Amplifying Dress at ISWC Design Exhibition, Osaka, Japan

I’m just back from an amazing trip to Japan where I exhibited my ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress at the Design Exhibition of the 19th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC). This event was part of the 2015 ACM joint international conference of ISWC and Ubicomp, which took place this year at Grand Front Osaka, Japan.

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress
ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress

I exhibited the dress alongside garments, accessories, textiles and devices, in the wearable tech categories of functional, aesthetic and fibre arts. If you’d like to read my paper on the ThinkBelle EEG Dress it is available from ACM or ask me for a copy.

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress
ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress

ThinkerBelle EEG Amplifying Dress in Tokyo!

Many thanks to this year’s Design Exhibition chairs Margarita Benitez and Halley Profita and jury panel: Maggie Orth, Sonny Vu, Tricia Flanagan and Frances Joseph.

Wear & Tear workshop with Thad Starner  at #ISWC15
Thad Starner’s keynote at Wear and Tear workshop.

At ISWC / Ubicomp I participated in two workshops, firstly Wear and Tear: Constructing Wearable Technology for The Real World. This was organised by colleagues at Georgia Tech Wearable Computing Centre and was a really useful and enjoyable day of reportage on building devices and systems. Thad Starner gave the keynote and was followed by various speakers who discussed what went right and what went wrong during the process of building their devices. Everyone shared useful approaches, tips and tricks to fixing issues and developing hardware and devices. A big thank you to the organisers: Peter Presti, Scott Gilliland, Abdelkareem Bedri, Clint Zeagler and Thad Starner, and the speakers, for a brilliant day.

Andy Quitmeyer's portable soldering shorts at ISWC Wear & Tear workshop
Andy Quitmeyer’s soldering station shorts at Wear and Tear workshop.

The second workshop I participated in was Broadening Participation. The event was created to increase the involvement of women, all students from developing countries, as well as underrepresented minorities, including persons with disabilities, in the field of ubiquitous and wearable computing. The day comprised of interesting and motivational talks and panels from those already working in the field of ubiquitous and wearable computing. There was also two poster sessions where participants discussed their research. I presented a poster on my doctoral research on Responsive and Emotive Wearables. I really enjoyed meeting and sharing my research with participants as well as hearing about their research, which was really interesting and there were some great crossover projects and research, which I’m going to follow up. Thanks very much to organisers: A. J. Brush, Miwako Doi, Gillian Hayes, Polly Huang, Judy Kay, Hitomi Tsujita, I.E. Yairi, Naomi Yamashita and Helen Ai He, and the speakers, for a great day.

Broadening Participation Workshop

Attendees of the Broadening Participation Workshop.

AnemoneStarHeart EEG / ECG visualising device at Transmission Symposium

AnemoneStarHeart handheld EEG/ECG Visualising Device

At the end of April I spent a very enjoyable day at Bournemouth University attending Transmission Symposium: Strategies for Brainwave Interpretation in the Arts. There were some very interesting presentations, exchanges of ideas and discussion on the intersection between art, cognition and technology. Links to the event, artists and scientists taking part can be found here. Thank you to Oliver Gingrich for inviting me to participate and to all the attendees, especially those who visited my emotive wearable exhibits, asked questions and/or tried a device and filled in a feedback survey.

At Transmission Symposium I debuted my AnemoneStarHeart, which is a pendant which can also be used as handheld or standalone device (smaller version being tweaked!) I have developed for broadcasting, amplifying and visualising EEG and ECG data. I have been developing this device as part of the iteration process of the EEG Visualising Pendant. It brings together technology and elements from my aforementioned EEG Visualising Pendant and Flutter ECG pendant hack.

Watching 'Canal Trip' on BBC4 with AnemoneStarHeart broadcasting / visualising EEG
AnemoneStarHeart being used as an ambient device to observe relaxation whilst watching ‘Canal Trip’ slow TV programme, BBC4, May 15.

It can be used, for example as an aid for meditation, relaxation and concentration, as well as for personal viewing or sharing physiological data in social situations with others. Data is sent to the AnemoneStarHeart via Bluetooth and it is a battery operated, standalone device. It can either be worn as a pendant, viewed in the palm of the hand or placed in a convenient area of a room – illuminating the space with coloured light. Whilst sensors are transmitting data to the device, it constantly visualises it, changing colour and brightness based on the data it receives. The smaller, wearable version hangs from a chain as a necklace or in the style of a pocket watch so it can be brought out, looked at, then put away again. As I am interested in the commercial possibilities of bespoke couture wearables and small editions of emotive devices, at some point I aspire to crowdfund this project.

AnemoneStarHeart lit up with live EEG data

As part of my PhD research, I have spent the best part of a year organising and running focus groups with potential users of emotive wearables and the EEG Visualising Pendant in London and Amsterdam. I have also conducted field trials in various social and work situations across London and Brighton, plus collected feedback from observers of the pendant. Since the beginning of 2015 I have been analysing the resulting data. This is to discover the preferences and feedback of potential wearers of emotive wearables as well as the EEG Visualising Pendant. Out of the resulting data, so far, has evolved the AnemoneStarHeart device, for which I devised a new configuration of electronic components and code. I created a new enclosure for the electronics in 3D modelling package Rhino, with help from skills learned at Francis Bitonti’s computational design workshop. It was selective laser sintered (SLS) in Nylon, in one of D2W’s EOS machines in London.

Rain & AnemoneStarHeart lit up with live EEG data

At the moment I am mostly out of general circulation as I’m collecting and analysing data which is feeding into the new emotive wearable devices I am building, whilst simultaneously endeavoring to write up / finish my PhD thesis to deadline.

Baroesque Barometric Skirt in New Scientist & on show at Microsoft Research, Redmond, USA

As we trundle into the dark winter days of 2014, I will be locking myself away to write, so I won’t be traveling to show my work in any exciting cities for a while.

So, just a couple of nuggets of recent news on my Baroesque Barometric Skirt – I was delighted to hear that it had been featured in the ‘One Per Cent’ column in New Scientist Magazine, September 27th issue, which reported on it being shown at the ISWC (International Symposium on Wearable Computing) Design Exhibition at the EMP Museum in Seattle last September. If you’d like to read my paper on the skirt it is available from the ACM or ask me for a copy.

My Barometric Skirt in New Scientist, in Mayday Hosp shop
The Baroesque Barometric Skirt featured in New Scientist

Rain & New Scientist, which contains pic & mention of Baroesque Barometric Skirt
Me being chuffed in Smiths with a copy of New Scientist

The Baroesque Barometric Skirt was also on display at Microsoft Research Gallery during September and October, which was organised by Asta Roseway of Microsoft Research and Troy Natchtigall, chair of the ISWC Design Exhibition. The skirt, which is part of my PhD practice should be winging its way back to me soon and I’m looking forward to being reunited with it.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA
Baroesque Barometric Skirt exhibited at the Microsoft Research Gallery in Redmond, WA, USA. Image by kind permission of James Hallam of Georgia Tech, whose Ballet Hero garment is also featured in this photo.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA

Some of the other exhibits on show at Microsoft Research Gallery. Images by kind permission of James Hallam.

ISWC Design Exhibition at Microsoft Research Gallery, Redmond, WA, USA

Whilst in Seattle at ISWC, I took advantage of the interesting decor of the Motif Hotel to make a new video of the skirt. Many thanks to Johnny Farringdon for being my cameraman 🙂

International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) 14 Design Exhibition at Experience Music Project Museum (EMP), Seattle, USA

Barometric Skirt

For me, the highlight of the ISWC / UbiComp conference was exhibiting my Baroesque Barometric Skirt in the ISWC Design Exhibition and conference reception. This year the ISWC Design Exhibition was held at the Experience Music Project Museum (EMP) in Seattle, which is an amazing venue with a three-storey screen on which videos of our work were shown and also houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to pop culture and music. Because I took so many photos (and made a video) I’m giving the event it’s own page so that it doesn’t take over my main ISWC blog post! This year I didn’t meet all the other exhibitors during the Design Exhibition set up, so I can’t do a full report on all the exhibits, but a full list of the Functional and Aesthetic wearables can be found on the ISWC program (Tues: EMP Reception/Design Exhibition link).

Experience Music Project Museum (EMP), Seattle, USA.

ISWC 2014 is my third year of being honoured to have my responsive and emotive wearable tech work accepted by the Design Exhibition jury: in 2012 I had three wearables accepted for ISWC held at Newcastle University, UK, and last year in 2013, my EEG Visualising Pendant was accepted for exhibiting at ISWC at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Baroesque Barometric Skirt

This year I was extremely happy to take my Baroesque Barometric Skirt to ISWC Seattle to exhibit. The skirt visualises data in the form of four independent RGB LED strips from four sensors, three of them are environmental and are: ambient temperature, pressure and altitude, the forth is a temperature sensor that sits on the inside of the skirt and pulls in the wearer’s body temperature. My motivation for creating the skirt is that I am interested in how we can display our physiological data alongside that of the environment or ‘bigger picture’ of elements that we are surrounded by. The skirt changes visually as the wearer moves around environments and also as the body reacts to its present situation. This garment-device starts a conversation around the connections between the environmental and physiological data of the wearer. The Baroesque Barometric skirt contributes a new way of sensing and presenting environmental and physiological data together. My paper on the skirt can be found in the conference proceedings and is available here or via ACM, but if you have any problems you can get a copy from me.

Troy welcomes attendees to the Design Exhibition at the EMP.

Many thanks to Design Exhibition Chair Troy Nachtigall for heroic work on organising the whole shebang from submissions to the show at the amazing EMP Museum, which looked stunning and also to the jury: Maggie Orth, Rosa Asteway, Zoe Romano and Meg Grant and not forgetting the ISWC volunteers.

Links to my main post on ISWC and ISWC Doctoral School Colloquium.

Baroesque Barometric Skirt video on 3 storey video wall
My Baroesque Barometric Skirt video shown on EMP’s three-floor high video wall!

A selection of images of wearables from the Design Exhibition:

ISWC Design Exhibition
Innovative Explorations in Apparel Design to Create Engineered Outfits with Lighting Technologies by Eric Beaudette et al.

ISWC Design Exhibition
TWINY emotional logging by Sara Ferraro et al.

ISWC Design Exhibition
Ballet Hero: Building a Garment for Memetic Embodiment in Dance Learning by James Hallam & Emily Keen et al – winner of the Functional Design Award.

ISWC Design Exhibition
Flowers on a Pond – solar LED Dress by Anna Perry.

ISWC Design Exhibition
Digital Lace: A Collision of Responsive Technologies by Sarah Taylor and Sara Robertson – winner of the Aesthetic Design Award.

ISWC Design Exhibition
S.A.R.A. – synesthetic augmented reality application by Margarita Benitez, Markus Vogl.

ISWC Design Exhibition
Oiko-Nomic Threads by Marinos Koutsomichalis, Afroditi Psarra and Maria Varela.

ISWC Design Exhibition
‘TellMe’: Therapeutic Clothing for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Daily Life (background) by Helen Koo.

Me & Baroesque Barometric Skirt
Me standing by my Baroesque Barometric Skirt and wearing my EEG Visualising Pendant.

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

ISWC Doctoral School Colloqium at 18th International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) / Ubicomp, Seattle, USA

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.

ISWC Doctoral Skool

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

Presenting at the Doctoral Colloquium

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.

Presenting my poster on my PhD research at ISWC

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!

Evening Frolik

Up the Space Needle with Jocelyn & Tamara