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Posted 10 March 2011

Pioneer of Wearable Computing to Give Lecture at AIT

Thad Starner profile pic

One of the world’s leading experts on human-computer interaction will deliver a lecture at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) on Friday 11 March.

Dr Thad Starner, founder and director of the Contextual Computing Group at Georgia Institute of Technology in the US, is one of the pioneers of wearable computing and has worn his own customised wearable computer continuously since 1993.

His work in augmented environments and pattern recognition has touched on handwriting, sign language analysis and intelligent agents. He is a strong advocate of continuous-access and everyday-use systems.

He holds degrees in brain and cognitive science and in computer science, as well as an MS and a PhD in arts and media sciences from MIT, Boston. He is an associate professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr Starner is a co-founder of the IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) and co-founder and first member of the MIT Wearable Computing Project, where he was one of the first six cyborgs involved.

Dr Starner claims to have a speech impediment, but is able to speak more clearly when prompted by a computer. His own wearable computer system enables him to type and access the internet while walking around or talking to others. He can also take notes on a conversation in real-time, opening up notes on a certain subject and emailing them at any time or even having two conversations at once, one online and one face-to-face.

He has been named as one Technology Review’s remarkable innovators and his work has been featured on national and international news such as CBS’s 60 Minutes, CNN, BBC and The Wall Street Journal.

At AIT over 200 students are registered as having a disability. Work has begun at the institute on integrating assistive technologies into mainstream learning and teaching, such as the use of audio files created by ‘texthelp read and write gold’. While this software was designed specifically for students with a learning difficulty, it is used by many mainstream students, especially in the learning of languages.

Dr Starner’s lecture takes place in room X102, Engineering and Informatics Building at 11am on Friday 11 March.

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