13 December 2007

NPO法人ウェアラブルコンピュータ研究開発機構定例会 (regular meeting of the Wearable Computer Research & Development NPO) held in 東京 (Tokyo, Japan)

In the frame of its regular activities, NPO法人ウェアラブルコンピュータ研究開発機構定例会 (Wearable Computer Research & Development NPO) organised a 4h30 seminar entitled 離陸直前のウェアラブルの諸相 (Various perspectives on wearable computers before takeoff) at 秋葉原ダイビル (Akihabara Daibiru) in 東京 (Tokyo, Japan) on 13 December 2007. It described the state of the art in 2007 and recent Japanese works.

During his talk ウェアラブル離陸直前 (Wearable computers before takeoff), 塚本昌彦 (TSUKAMOTO Masahiko) explained that the general public uses much more pocket computers (e.g. cellular phones, digital cameras, electronic dictionaries, music players) in everyday life and may adopt head-mounted displays as soon as 2008 at home if not in public places. He evoked three critical challenges discussed afterwards by other speakers: system platforms, safety and raw materials (e.g. textiles for smart clothing). As for his research, he still designs smart clothes. As a member of his team, 寺田努 (TERADA Tsutomu) introduced during his talk ウェアラブルのシステム (Wearable systems) an illuminated tree controlled by worn sensors and Wearable Toolkit, a toolkit to create rules for wearables based on sensor data.

During his talk ウェアラブルの安全性 (Safety of wearables), 河合隆史 (KAWAI Takashi) presented in depth investigations on head-mounted displays to understand their physiological and psychological effects on humans. To study fundamentals, his group carried out experiments with young adults in laboratories and outdoors, displaying combinations of stripes, which is standard for vision-related psychological experiments. Penetrating results will require much effort and should involve children and older adults to cover the influences of growth and decline, which is not planned yet.

During his talk ウェアラブルの素材 (Materials for wearables), 脇田玲 (WAKITA Akira) introduced several technologies to create color-changing clothes presented by others at Tokyo Fiber 2007 - Senseware in Paris (France) on 26-28 June 2007 or developed by his group. He then quickly evoked the potential for applications.

Finally two special talks were given: 人間のI/Oを拡張するためのインタフェース技術 (Interface technologies to extend human input/output) and 21 世紀の人類は「i-borg」になる!?:常時装用インタフェースによる脳力強化人間 (21st century humans become i-borg!? Usually worn interfaces that extend human intelligence). 稲見昌彦 (INAMI Masahiko) discussed novel and sometimes artistic input/output paths for human-computer systems, with numerous illustrations from his research, and concluded with a question: "After wearables, will we really get implants?". 福本雅朗 (FUKUMOTO Masaaki) discussed replacements for usual elements of Japanese cellular phones, with a long focus on the detection of typing shocks (using fingers or feet) to replace keyboards with systems such as FingeRing and UbiButton.

The main participants were: 塚本昌彦 (TSUKAMOTO Masahiko) from 神戸大学 (Kobe university), 寺田努 (TERADA Tsutomu) from 神戸大学 (Kobe university), 河合隆史 (KAWAI Takashi) from 早稲田大学 (Waseda university), 脇田玲 (WAKITA Akira) from 慶應義塾大学 (Keio university), 稲見昌彦 (INAMI Masahiko) from 電気通信大学 (The university of electro-communications), and 福本雅朗 (FUKUMOTO Masaaki) from NTTドコモ (NTT Docomo).

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