Sarntal/Südtirol - Sonntag, 23. September bis Freitag, 5. Oktober 2001



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Talks, Speakers, and Literature

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This course focuses on issues and problems related to three modern technologies in computer science: ubiquitious computing, wearable computing, and augmented reality. When these three technologies are brought together, they give a rich potential for new applications and systems: mobile tutoring, that is just-in-time instruction without the problem of "how do I get the information I badly need", is such an application enabled by the synergy of the three enabling techniques of this course.

Example for a head mounted display (wearable computing)

The course is structured as a series of presentations given by students followed by discussions with the participants and the instructors. The objective of the discussion is to clarify the topic and to generate new ideas. Each presentation should last about a hour and a half. The discussion after each presentation is expected to last up to an hour.

The Aura Project - An Expedition into Ubiquitious Computing

The effects of Moore's Law are apparent everywhere: chip density, processor speed, memory cost, disk capacity and network bandwidth are improving relentlessly. As the cost of computing plummets, a resource that we have ignored until now becomes the limiting factor in computer systems - human attention. By "human attention" we mean the ability of a user to focus on his primary task, oblivious to system-generated distractions such as failures and poor performance. Discovering ways to reduce these distractions is a key aspect of the Aura Project. By trading off plentiful computing resources for the scarcest resource, human attention, we hope to create a system whose overall effectiveness is considerably higher than that of typical systems today. Aura is specifically intended for environments involving wireless communication, wearable or handheld computers, and smart spaces. Human attention is an especially scarce resource in such environments, since the user is often preoccupied with walking, driving or other real-world interactions. In addition, mobile computing poses difficult challenges such as intermittent and variable-bandwidth connectivity, concern for battery life, and client resource constraints imposed by weight and size considerations. Aura applies two broad concepts to various levels of the system. First, it uses proactivity, or the ability of a system layer to act in anticipation of requests by a higher layer. This is in contrast to today's systems, where each layer is reactive to the layer above it. Second, Aura is self-tuning: layers adapt by observing the demands made on them and adjusting their performance and resource usage characteristics to match demand. This is in contrast to today's systems, where the behavior of a system layer is relatively static. The Aura project involves several faculty whose research spans every level of the system: from the hardware, through the operating system, to applications and end users. This talk will overview the objectives of the Aura project and provide examples of several initial Aura applications.

Wearable Computer Architecture and Applications

The convergence of a variety of technologies makes possible a paradigm shift in information processing over the last decade. Continued advances in semiconductor technology makes possible high performance microprocessors requiring less power and less space. Decades of research in computer science have provided the technology for hands-off computing using speech and gesturing for input. Miniature heads-up displays weighing less than a few ounces have been recently introduced. Combined with mobile communication technology, it is possible for users to access information anywhere. It is indeed possible to sense a user's context so that the information can be superimposed upon the user's workspace.

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has developed 20 generations of wearable computers, each addressing a different class of applications. Hardware/software architectural issues unique to wearable/mobile computers will be described. In particular, energy conservation is one of the key issues wherein battery weight for mobile/wearable computers often exceeds the weight of all other components combined. The relationship between the system architecture and the user application will also be explored. The user interface and information representation selected for an application can lead to orders of magnitude difference in energy consumption. Termed "energy locality," decisions have to be made as to when to compute and when to communicate. Network infrastructures have begun to emerge that allow proxies to not only be embedded in the network but also to migrate from node to node within the network. Proxies can be used to decrease the number of bits required to be transmitted by an application by up to two orders of magnitude. A three-tiered taxonomy based upon the time rate of change of data is used to categorize applications. Several applications will be described along with productivity improvement measured through field trials. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the role of Wearable Computers in the Aura project investigating invisible/pervasive computing.

Applications and technical foundations of Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) allows users to view computer information that is graphically embedded within the real three-dimensional world. Using a semi-transparent head-mounted display (HMD) attached to a wearable computer, a user can inspect and manipulate objects while viewing information about these objects in the HMD. This information is typically displayed as virtual objects in the real world, thus augmenting the perception of the user. The wearable computer enables users to carry their work as they normally do, without imposing constraints on their mobility or their hand. AR applications span from medical minimally invasive surgery to manufacturing, from machine inspection and repair to games and tourist guides. At the Chair for Applied Software Engineering, we have set up a basic system to perform Augmented Reality tasks. The system is being used for several applications, such as visualizing repair procedures in nuclear power plants, viewing virtual new car designs side-by-side with clay mockups, and teaching children first concepts of 3D geometric operations by choreographing a dance between humans and virtual objects in an augmented studio. At the Ferienakademie, we will present these and other applications in detail, while also teaching some of the basic techniques for building AR systems.

Mobile Tutoring - a killer application based on all these techniques?

Mobile tutoring enables you to get necessary information or learn new problem solving skills, wherever you are and whenever you need it. Imagine the following examples: We feel that ubiquitious computing, wearable computing, and augmented reality techniques provide the enablers on which mobile tutoring systems can be built. A desired outcome of our discussions is a better understanding whether this is true or not.

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