September 30

Wearable Computing and Humanistic Intelligence

Steve Mann, University of Toronto

Steve will begin with a wearable “Phenomenological Augmented Reality” computer that he designed and built during his childhood in 1974, which facilitated direct interaction with electromagnetic radio waves overlaid in near-perfect alignment with reality. Thus began a series of what he calls “Natural User Interfaces” to help people see and understand their world, leading to the invention of HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging as the basis for wearable “Augmediated Reality” (augmentational sensory mediation).

He’ll also discuss a more recent project that builds on the seminal work of Sean Follmer and his team (Follmer Lab: Tactile Physical Interfaces), resulting in systems that allow us to touch and feel radio waves, sound waves, and other waves in the environment around us. The result is to make visible, as well as graspable, the otherwise invisible intangible electrical signals that are ubiquitous but otherwise hidden.

Finally, Steve will demonstrate some musical fitness (planned collaboration with CCRMA) and hydraulic (truly immersive multimedia in water) fitness applications. Please bring a bathing suit and towel, or comfortable exercise wear, to experience the full range of demonstrations possible that we can setup outdoors after the talk.

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Steve Mann

Steve Mann, PhD (MIT), P.Eng. (Ontario), is widely regarded as "The Father of Wearable Computing" [IEEE ISSCC 2000]. His work as an artist, scientist, designer, and inventor made Toronto the world's epicentre of wearable technologies back in the 1980s. In 1992 Mann took this invention from Toronto to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founding the MIT Media Lab's Wearable Computing project as its first member. In the words of the Lab's founding Director, Nicholas Negroponte: "Steve Mann is the perfect example of someone... who persisted in his vision and ended up founding a new discipline.". Mann also invented the smartwatch videophone (wearable computer) in 1998, which was featured on the cover of Linux Journal in 2000, and presented at IEEE ISSCC2000, 2000 February 7, where he was named "The Father of Wearable Computing".