Recently in conferences Category

It's been 4+ years since my last post. Wondering if anyone is still out there... If so, watch this fantastic video from TED.

Upcoming conferences

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Next Monday and Tuesday, I'll be attending ISWC in Washington D.C. If you read this and are going to the conference, please look out for me and introduce yourself. I'm excited that this year's program seems to focus less on the (sometimes agonizing) details of wearable technology and more on issues of usability, interaction design and context, topics that have been largely ignored at past conferences.

It's probably a little late to be mentioning this, but there's another interesting conference next week in Ottawa. The Technology and the Body conference will take place November 4 - 6 at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Conference themes include the built environment, medicine, clothing and adornment, body enhancement, athletics, and the body expressive.

- Thanks to Marc for pointing me to the Technology and the Body conference.

the space between

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Hot off the heels of ISWC, I'm already lusting over other conferences.

The Space Between is an international conference looking at textiles, art, design, fashion, and the "fluid spaces between the familiar domains of [these] traditional disciplines". They have a great speaker line up, including Lucy Orta and Marie O'Mahoney, author of Techno Textiles and Cyborg: The Man-Machine. For those fortunate enough to attend, the conference will take place in beautiful Perth, Australia next April.

- Thanks to Chad for the conference link!

functional clothing design

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At ISWC I attended a tutorial entitled ìMaking Computers Wearableî. It was taught by Susan Watkins, who wrote Clothing: The Portable Environment (unfortunately out of print), and Lucy Dunne, a masters student in Apparel Design at Cornell. Susan and Lucy share an interest in functional clothing design and talked about the practical issues of integrating technology into textiles and garments. They covered topics such as weight and bulk distribution, heat and moisture dispersion, cut and fit of garments, frictional drag of fabric, the bodyís sensitivity to pressure, and other related topics.

If youíre interested in this kind of thing, you might want to subscribe to a new d-list created by Lucy and Aaron Toney from the University of South Australia. Send an email with the subject ìsubscribeî to broadcloth at hhhh dot org.

the hum of technology

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I arrived in New York last night for ISWC. When I walked into my hotel room, I was confronted with a loud, high-pitched hum -- one that really would have kept me up all night. I was able to move to another room where the noise has a lower pitch and is slightly quieter, but it's still there.

Turns out the hum is residual noise from the parking garages and two large shopping malls that surround the hotel. If the electricity from these facilities creates noise that disturbs me on a conscious level, I wonder what the sub-conscious and cellular effects are... As someone who wants to put electronics all over the body, this really disturbs me.

I've checked the conference program, and no one is discussing the health considerations of wearable electronic or wireless devices. This disturbs me even more.

BBC article rehash

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Several people have sent me links to or about the recent BBC article covering the Eurowearable 03 conference. Roland Piquepaille pulls out snippets from the original article for those who don't feel like reading the whole thing.

A post on gizmodo was dismissive, stating "the biggest reason why wearable computing hasn't taken off is that the clothes are usually ugly." My friend Megan had the same reaction when she looked at the illuminating dress that I mentioned in a previous post. Yes, as excited as I am about this dress, I admit the fabric is not something you long for in an evening dress. Or a sundress. Or any dress really. But the illuminating dress is important because it's an attempt, and an excellent one at that, to bridge the gulf between fashion and engineering.

The BBC article says that "much ... does not make it out of the engineer's lab or off the fashion designer's sketch pad". Clearly this will need to change in order for the field to move forward and I get the feeling that it's already happening. This is actually where I hope to position myself when I graduate next year.

- from Micah, John, and Haven. Thanks! :o)

feeling good

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Megan Galbraith, from the Aesthetics & Computation Group at the MIT Media Lab, showed her illuminating dress in the Wear Me exhibition that was part of Eurowearable 03.

The dress, named Elroy, is shown in a short feel-good video (6.2MB) that will make you want to either buy one of these dresses or make one yourself! OK, well that's what it did for me. The captions read, "The panels rearrange patterns depending on the time. It's about a relationship between you and your wardrobe. It's not about computers strapped to your arm. It's about bringing the world of fashion into the 21st century. Because what we wear should make us feel good. And if it doesn't, it should change."

Megan has created so many amazing things and her website is a treasure trove for anyone excited about wearables and fashion. Especially worth checking out are her page on computational fashion concepts and her Masters thesis entitled Embedded Systems for Computational Garment Design. Go! Go Now!

CMU at ISWC in NYC

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Neema and I are representing Carnegie Mellon at this year's International Symposium on Wearable Computers, which is taking place in October just outside of New York City.

Neema's going to be presenting a context-aware mobile phone that was developed by a group of students in CMU's rapid prototyping class. He'll also talk about his user research on the interruptibility of mobile phone users and other aspects of the project.

I'll be presenting research I did this spring on the link between the functionality and perceived comfort of wearable devices. The gist is that subjects' comfort ratings changed depending on what we told them a wearable device did! There were also differences in comfort ratings between device locations (arm and back) and between genders.

Eurowearable '03

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I just found the Eurowearable '03 website and am MORE than a little shocked that their logo is nearly identical to mine! They even cut the guy into squares like I did! What are the friggin' odds? I am now a true believer in the collective consciousness...

The conference looks great, though, and seems to address social issues and design much more than ISWC does. There's also an exhibition called Wear Me which showcases several intelligent garments. Apparently this is just part of a larger exhibition that will begin in Sept 04.

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