Sharechat Logo

Canterbury University gets funding to develop user-friendly wearable computers

Tuesday 4th November 2014

Text too small?

Two University of Canterbury researchers have received $870,000 in Marsden funding over three years to research how engineering and psychology could combine to make wearable computer systems easier to use.

HIT Lab NZ director Professor Mark Billinghurst and psychology Professor Deak Helton have been working since early this year on using cognitive psychology techniques to model the user and the wearable computer as a single system.

Until now there has been little research on how wearable applications can be used without distracting the user from the real world. Billinghurst cites the example of someone texting while walking who then falls into a hole in front of them on the footpath because they were distracted. Their research aims to produce an interface which has sensors, data storage and memory where the wearable computer would tell the user the hole was in front of them and how to avoid it while they were still texting.

One of the most difficult challenges of the research will be how to measure people’s cognitive load while engaged in a real world task. The researchers will use a new technique – functional near infrared spectroscopy, which uses light absorption by brain tissue to measure mental workload.

“This will be the first time that FNIRS has been used to measure cognitive load with wearable systems, so the research should provide significant outputs for the cognitive science and computer interface research communities,” Billinghurst said.

They already have two postgraduate students experimenting on wearable computers by viewing information on the wearable display while engaged in activities like rock climbing and the Marsden grant will enable them to recruit more students and postdoctoral researchers.

Billinghurst has already had some funding from Google and spent five months at its American headquarters to work on the Google Glass wearable computer. He says the current research is aimed at producing an interface that could work on all wearable computers rather than just one model though they may seek a commercial partner to take any prototypes to market towards the end of the three-year funding. 

 

 

 

 

BusinessDesk.co.nz



  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comment:
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: Blue-chip stocks Meridian, A2 lead market lower
NZ dollar rises on Brexit hopes, rate cut reassessment
Three not failing, just needs a new owner - MediaWorks CEO
Major investors back new CBL class action targeting directors
Rip Curl purchase a done deal on Kathmandu proxies alone
Comvita chair Neil Craig eyes the exit once he finds a new CEO
Mercury raises guidance on increased storage, high spot prices
Eroad reports strong 3Q sales growth, eyes ASX listing
MediaWorks puts TV business on the block
NZ dollar benefits as preliminary Brexit deal improves risk appetite

IRG See IRG research reports