Be Stupid, Your Gadgets Are Smart

Recently, wearable computing has been a topic of great interest in the blogosphere and tech media. Google’s Project Glass is obviously the most notable example. In academic research the issue has been addressed long before. At NEXT Berlin 2012 Alois Ferscha presented various examples and use cases of wearable computing.

As a professor at Johannes Kepler University Linz, he focuses on pervasive computing. This concept involves the integration of microprocessors into everyday objects. These are constantly online, networked and transfer information unobtrusively. Therefore, the term pervasive or ubiquitous computing is strongly related to the Internet of things.

Wearable computers, which are integrated into clothing, are one application of pervasive computing. The human body serves as an interface to control these gadgets.
In his talk, Ferscha presented a range of innovative applications for wearable computing. As an example, a belt giving you directions to the safest exits in case of an emergency.

The increasing number of networked smart objects in our environment has the potential to ease our lives. However, it still has at least one disadvantage:

“We cannot attentively interact with the hundreds and thousands of computers that surround us in our everyday lives. This requires a change in the interaction paradigm. It is not us, who attentively give input, but observing systems, which try to find out in which situations we are. And, depending on that assessment, offer us the right services,” Ferscha concluded.