DS 501: Wearable Computing Fall 2013

DS501 – Wearable Computing
Fall 2013

This class will be focused on designing wearable computing interfaces.  The course is designed to give students working knowledge of circuitry, sensors and microcontrollers.  No pre-requirements will be given, but students should have a strong interest in developing new technologies.  Students will design a final wearable computing interface to be demonstrated at the end of the semester.  See the attached for an idea of the projects we will focus on.  The class will talk about ideas of Ubiquitous Computing, Human Computer Interaction, and Augmented and Mixed Reality.

This class is meant to give students hands-on experience in building wearable computing platforms. Students will learn fundamentals of both AC and DC circuitry, weaving, basic microcontroller programming, techniques of sensor integration and interfacing for external machines. Students will produce a final project that will be showcased to the public.

The class is designed for students who:

  • Have a background in textile and apparel design and are looking to take their work in new directions
  • Have a background in computer science or engineering and are looking to explore new interface technologies
  • Have a background in media arts or robotics and have experience interfacing with microcontrollers and sensors

Tuesdays 12:00-12:50
Fridays 8:50 – 12:10

Kevin Ponto
Emelia Haglund

This course has no official pre-requirements. Students will be learning new skill sets and will thusly be expected to be strongly motivated.

Attanticipated Audience
Students may have backgrounds in Design Studies, Computer
Science, Art, Electrical / Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial
Engineering, and Theater.

The class will not have an official textbook.  All required readings will be posted online.

Lab Supplies
Students will be required to purchase lab supplies such an Arduino Lilypad, resistors, transistors and so on.  The necessary supplies will be listed on the course website.

Below are some references that demonstrate the types of projects applicable for the class.

Squid Shirt
Northeastern University
The shirt has a total of 13 EMG sensors, monitoring data
from three muscle groups: the pecs, lats and delts. Every
signal requires two sensors (with one attached to the hip
for ground), which are ultra cheap and disposable,
meaning you can just toss them away at the end of each
workout session. In addition to monitoring muscle activity,
a standard Polar heart rate monitor slips into a sleeve
inside the shirt to keep track of your pulse. The shirt itself
is machine washable, which again is good news, if you
plan on working out in the thing. This is due in part to the
fact that the box — the brains of the operation — is
removable. This also means that you can use a single box
to plug into different garments, which could include things
like workout pants in the future.

Electronic Sensor Fibers
Cherenack, Kinkeldei, Zysset
ETH Zurich
While smart textiles are evolving to integrate more
electronic functions into textiles at the fiber level, most
fibers are limited to a single functionality (e.g. electrical
conductivity). We have developed a method of combining
thin-film electronic circuits and commercial integrated
circuits with plastic fibers (e-fibers) that can be woven into
textiles using a commercial manufacturing process. This
method creates a platform to integrate a large variety of
microelectronic circuits, sensors and systems intimately
within textile architectures. Here, our contribution to the
field of smart textiles is a “novel method to integrate
electronic circuits into smart textiles using commercial
textile machines” by weaving prefabricated plastic efibers,
with ductile metal interconnection lines, integrated
circuits and thin film sensors into a textile.

Know it All
Kalani Craig, Indiana University
This bag knows everything. It knows your row number,
the chart for your stitch pattern, and where you are in that
stitch pattern. Unlike the other know-it-alls in your life, it
will gladly share information with you by displaying your
row number and a chart

Course Format
The course will blend the lecture and studios styles. The Tuesday class will target lectures over the subject matters such as electronics, sensors, and microcontrollers. Additionally, class discussion and viewings will occur during this time slot. The Friday classes will be setup as studio session in which students will have hands-on learning and dedicated time to develop their projects. Final projects will showcased in a public forum.

Proposed Lab Schedule:
Weeks 1-4: Introduction to Electronics and Circuits
Weeks 5-8: Introduction to Micro-Controllers
Weeks 9-12: Introduction to Sensors and Interfacing
Weeks 13-16: Final Projects

Proposed Classroom Schedule:
Weeks 1-4: Background of Clothing as computer Interface and Art
Weeks 5-8: Design of Wearable Computing and Ubiquitous Computing
Weeks 9-12: Interaction Design and Sensor Fusion
Weeks 12-15: Augmented and Mixed Reality

The course will have two exams to make sure students understand the material. The first exam will be held on week 5 and the second exam will be held on week 10.  Students will be expected to be at all lab and class sessions.  Assignments will be focused on building skills for final projects.  Final projects will be independently created and should demonstrate student’s knowledge and familiarity will the material.

  Percentage of Final Grade
Attendance and Participation 20%
Exams 30%
Assignments 20%
Final Projects 30%