. Wearable Computers 42194
. Wearable Computers 42194

. Wearable Computers 42194

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  • Pages: 18 (8963 words)
  • Published: November 12, 2018
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Introduction

Advances in miniaturization, computing, microelectronics, telecommunications as well as textiles and fabrics have now made it possible to reduce the size of a computer sufficiently, for this computer to be worn on the human body. These small and lightweight computer systems also carry in them a level of technological sophistication as well as a computing power that was not thought to be possible in a device of the size and weight. Novel devices and techniques for computer interaction as well as wearable display devices have made it possible for these systems to be usefully deployed to assist their human users in carrying out a number of tasks. Wearable computers are capable of interacting with larger computers with more power, thanks to the wireless and communications technologies which have now been made available. Wearable computers can assist those who wear them in a number of ways and help them to perform tasks which they may be involved with more efficiently. Potential applications of wearable computing are only limited by the imagination of the designers of such systems and these wearable systems have been found to be useful in many areas of human endeavour including the battlefield, trading floors in the stock market, when performing the task of data collection in the field as well as in health care. In this paper, an attempt has been made to explore the relatively new field of wearable computing and to examine various issues of importance that are associated with wearable computer systems. Wearable computers for some applications and the issues related to wearable computing are discussed and presented in

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sections below.

In the next section, a wearable computer system for use in the collection of data for field archaeology is described and presented.

A Wearable Computer System for Field Archaeology

A wearable computer is simply a computer that can be worn on the body and this computer may assist the user to perform tasks which may be assisted by such an approach. The list of such tasks is only limited by the imagination. Wearable computers can help workers perform complex tasks such as those associated with aircraft maintenance, surgery, health monitoring of the chronically ill and assist those with memory impairments such as Parkinsoni??s disease. These wearable computers can help users with the visual recognition of landscape through wearable augmented reality systems, make tasks easier in the construction industry and help the archaeologist or the outdoor field workers such as a botanist perform their job. Archaeology, field archaeology and archaeological excavation can be exacting work with a need to record a lot of pertinent information and observations while referring to existing records. Field archaeology refers to the use of techniques such as ground penetrating radar, geophysics and satellite photography etc to gather archaeological information. Wearable computers in the context of field archaeology make it easier to access and collect data. Wearable computing may be used to digitise and store documents as well as site information assisting with the cross referencing of a site. Image, text and site measurement data may be transmitted wirelessly and images from aerial surveys may be retrieved as required

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The wearable computer can provide quick access and visualisation of data.

When designing a wearable archaeological computer, it is appropriate to consider the applications and the technologies that will be required. Visualisations and retrieval of site data are applications which will require superior computing power as compared to what is available on a PDA. The ability to interface with a desktop and how applications may be altered to accommodate the use of a wearable computer is also important for a design. It will be appropriate to consider the technologies that are available and how these may be integrated with the right computing power. Mobile communication technologies and the use of a positioning system will have to be explored and these systems should be incorporated into a good design

Field Archaeology Wearable Computer Developed at the University of Birmingham

The wearable computer system for archaeology that has been developed at the University of Birmingham has a 700 MHz mobile Pentium 3 processor with a 256 K memory and a 30GB hard drive. The system uses an embedded Windows XP operating system and can be worn on a belt that is tied around an archaeologisti??s waist with its batteries that support at least eight hour of battery life. Lithium i?? Polymer batteries are helpful for this application, although hydrogen fuel cells can also be used. The system can support wireless, networking and imaging through a single USB port and a wearable augmented reality display may be added to it in order to support the display of maps, field referencing or photo as well as text information. The head worn display also contains audio input devices. Interfacing to other input devices such as those for text and sketching is also supported. The system can connects to desktop computers through the 802.11b wireless LAN standard and extended range of 20 Km has been demonstrated for this system. A base station also makes it possible to provide connectivity to remote computers. A smart screen that is readable in the high intensity sunlight is something which is quite important on the field.

A wearable computer system such as the system described above can be very useful on an archaeological site, making it possible to do the painstaking work of recording quickly and also providing a constant link with the office or the laboratory. The concepts involved in the design of a wearable computer may also be extended to cover other field activities such as those related to construction or healthcare.

A wearable computer must be able to readily interact with its users and present an interface that is adequate for the tasks that are being assisted. However, there are limitations involved with user interfaces which are discussed below.

Technical Limitations of User Interfaces for Wearable Computing Systems

Wearable computers have limitations that are most often associated with the display screen and the control of the computer. Visual displays of the computer may be wasteful for the eyes because the user may be involved in doing other tasks such as driving, walking, maintenance work or surgery etc. Input devices to the wearable computer can be difficult to

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