The ubicomp spring school in Nottingham had an interesting set of lectures and practical sessions, including a talk by Turing Award winner Robin Milner on a theoretical approach to ubicomp. When I arrived on Tuesday I had the chance to see Chris Baber‘s tutorial on wearable computing. He provided really good examples of wearable computing and its distinct qualities (also in relation to wearable use of mobile phones). One example that captures a lot about wearable computing is an adaptive bra. The bra one example of a class of interesting future garments. The basic idea is that these garments detects the activity and changes their properties accordingly. A different example in this class is a shirt/jacket/pullover/trouser that can change its insulation properties (e.g. by storing and releasing air) according to the external temperature and the users body temperature.
My tutorial was on user interface engineering and I discussed: what is different in creating ubicomp UIs compared to traditional user interfaces. I showed some trends (including technologies as well as a new view on privacy) that open the design space for new user interfaces. Furthermore we discussed the idea about creating magical experiences in the world and the dilemma of user creativity and user needs.
There were about 100 people the spring school from around the UK – it is really exciting how much research in ubicomp (and somehow in the tradition of equator) is going on in the UK.