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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Lecturer at NJIT Asks is Time Right Yet for Wearable Computers?

A pioneer behind the science of what is now called “wearable computing” will delight listeners at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on April 12 when he outlines why wearable computing is the wave of the future.   Thad Eugene Starner, PhD, a guru from Georgia Tech, who has been promoting and wearing such computers since 1993, will outline his passion for this emerging field at the upcoming talk to which the public is invited. Common examples of wearable computers today include wearable camera phones, electric eyeglasses and wearable imaging systems.


“While the current market for computers that can be worn on the body is estimated to be annually over $4 billion, surprisingly few companies and researchers specialize in wearable computing,” said NJIT College of Computing Sciences Assistant Professor Quentin Jones. “Hearing Dr. Starner should be a fascinating experience for everyone as he delves into the present and future accomplishments of this growing field.”   Jones, the event’s host, is a proponent of wearable computing, who teaches a course in pervasive computing. 


The talk which will take place from 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m., will be held in room 3730 in Guttenberg Information Technologies Center (GITC) at the intersection of Central Ave. and Lock St.  Parking will be available in the parking deck at the intersection of Warren and Summit streets. The event is sponsored by the College of Computing Sciences at NJIT as part of the college’s annual colloquium. 


In use since the 1960's, wearable computers have only recently entered the public consciousness.  Nevertheless, Starner and his research associates are developing privacy-awareness speech interfaces that can listen to the user's conversations and capture salient information in a semi-automatic, "user-assisted" fashion.


His group is also studying the “Twiddler,” a one-handed keyboard appropriate for people who would want to type memos to them while talking to someone.  According to Starner, his researchers have found that expert users of this instrument can average up to 70 words per minute while touch-typing on the equivalent of a mobile telephone keypad.


Sterner will also touch upon his research efforts to enable face-to-face communication when for some people such conversation is difficult.  For example, his Telesign project attempts to create an American Sign Language-to-English one-way translator to facilitate conversation between the deaf and hearing communities. 


By describing such projects, Starner’s talk will examine pattern recognition, human computer interface, and social issues used in augmenting face-to-face conversations.  He will also discuss why current PDA systems may not be appropriate; and suggest directions for future research in this area.


Starner received a doctorate in from the media laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1999. He is assistant professor of information systems the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology.  He has authored more than 75 scientific publications on subjects such as a gloveless, real-time sign language recognizer; an early high-accuracy on-line cursive handwriting recognition system; intelligent agents in support of everyday memory; frameworks for power generation and heat dissipation for wearable; augmented realities.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.