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Panel Discussion
Wearable Computing - Empowering the Mobile Worker?
Prof. Dr. Michael Lawo (Mobile Research Centre Bremen, Germany)

Alois Ferscha (Full Professor for Pervasive Computing at the University of Linz, Austria)
Otthein Herzog (Full Professor, Head of AI Research Group, University of Bremen, Germany)
Paul Lukowicz (Professor in Computer Science, University of Health Informatics & Technology, Austria)
Cliff Randell (Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, UK)
Bradley Rhodes (PhD of MIT, Researcher at Ricoh RC, Palo Alto, USA)
Bruce Thomas (Professor of Computer Science, University of Southern Australia)
Steve Mann - remote - (Professor and Inventor of WearComp, University of Toronto, Canada)

Thursday, September 1, 2005
10:30AM - 12:00PM

A recent study showed that wearable computing can increase productivity in aircraft maintenance up to 50 %: Wearable computing thus might empower the professionals who are in their primary tasks not yet computer users but manual labourers by a break-through of a pervasive computing reality.

Belt- computers with wireless communication based on ad-hoc networks, head mounted and wrist mounted displays as well as wireless sensory subsystems for context detection and input are available. However, is the available technology ready to come in operation e.g. in aircraft maintenance replacing print out checklists, in hospitals on ward rounds, giving access to app. 100 subsystems, in car production giving access e.g. to ERP-, PDM- or CRM- systems, or in fire fighting making the fire-fighters' lives safer?

Where users in mobile computing interact less than 5% of their time with the mobile system but 95% of the time with the real world, users in wearable computing interact 100% with the real world interacting also 100% with the wearable computing system and the interaction of the user with the system is about 50% of the time. Thus wearable computing is not just another kind of mobile computing it is another world.

Are the users ready for the new technology? Will we have to master similar sticking points as introducing the PC in the office or 3D modelling in technical drawing? What are the ways to cope the challenges?

Panellist representing academic thinkers in wearable computing from around the world will debate and try to find answers to questions like: What are the main challenges to face when bringing wearable computing from the labs and niches it is in today to manual labourers in general? What are the expectations of the main obstacles to achieve an intended breakthrough?