Wear and Tear: Constructing Wearable Technology for the Real World

ISWC ’15, Workshop September 7th and 8th, 2015, Osaka, Japan

Creating wearable devices for real world harsh environments is a significant challenge to research projects. Often in the pursuit of academic papers we lose the hands-on experience we develop while building the actual hardware. In the pursuit of reaching our goals we put aside the construction and prototyping lessons learned while getting there. Typically the devices we build are secondary to the research performed, but the skills are common to many ubiquitous and wearable computing projects.

There are not many venues to publish these experiences. DIY builder venues may not appreciate our narrowly focused requirements, while academic publication is not usually appropriate for these engineering efforts, often only having room for a short description of the final version of the test setup. Ruggedizing equipment for use with animals, or waterproofing computers for underwater experiments might have taken up most of the research time, but can often get the least space in a paper.

September 7th: Workshop

In this workshop we will have the opportunity to talk about how we built our devices, systems, and test setups. What did we create in order to perform the study? What did and didn't work? Who made the part that finally met the requirements? What combination of hardware from different sources made the difference?

A small sampling of the types of questions that we would love to see addressed include:

·       How can you seal a wearable computer against submersion in water? For months?

·       What connectors stand up to the movements of an animal?

·       What harsh environment standards exist?

·       What flexible materials can you bite repeatedly?

·       What processes can mitigate industrial oil film on a camera lens?

·       How do you clean these devices?

·       What 3D printer technology is appropriate for building cases?

·       How do you radiation-harden consumer-grade electronic parts?

This is the engineer’s opportunity for show and tell. Bring your hardware, bring your horror stories, and brag on your sources. Tell us about the approaches that failed and why. Share your insights and help the community create new devices. Tell us about processes and procedures. Describe your failures and then the ultimate successes. Teach us how to build.

Topics we will cover include:

·       Harsh environments including underwater, extreme temperatures, and high radiation.

·       Unappreciative users such as dogs, cats, horses, birds, land crabs, and even human luddites.

·       Custom enclosures approaches including rapid prototyped, machined, special surface treatments.

·       Hardened electronics including surface coatings and sealants, avoiding vulnerable components, temperature, and radiation.

·       Communication, connectors, and cables. What protocols fail in the presence of noise? What signals work in particular transmission mediums?

·       Testing in the field. Preparation, logistics, test site accessibility, transportation, networking.

·       Cloth and fabrics. How can textile interfaces be hardened for harsh environments?

·       Unforgiving requirements such as international space station rules and long lifecycle devices.

September 8th: Field Trip

Attendees will also have the opportunity to take a field trip to the Nipponbashi electronics market led by a local guide. Nipponbashi is a consumer electronics market where shoppers can find weird and wonderful devices unavailable outside of Japan.  Join us as we wander the shops seeking out odd and nifty items. Please identify that you would like to join this trip with you sign up for the workshop.

Submissions should not be structured like a typical academic paper. We are looking for engineering how-to articles more at home in Make magazine than an ACM publication. Give us specific vendors and part numbers. Tell us the details.  Accepted papers must be in the SIGCHI Extended Abstract format. Submit your presentations and questions to wearandtear@wcc.gatech.edu by June 24, 2015.  See http://wcc.gatech.edu/wearandtear for more details.