Ubiquitous & Wearable Computing

People experimenting with wearable computing

Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is as concerned with lifestyle as it is with silicon. Ubicomp uses mobile devices and inexpensive, embeddable sensors for entertainment, personal communication, healthcare, education, and many other aspects of our everyday lives. Four and a half billion active mobile phone subscriptions allow computing services to reach most of the planet, and even the most mundane appliances can now be “smart.” Ubiquitous computing examines the design, implementation, use, and usability of new types of interfaces (human computer interaction), privacy, the networking of objects and people, and the physical characteristics and limitations of devices (e.g., form factor, power consumption, and heat dissipation). How can ubicomp improve healthcare or the lives of people in developing countries? What new services and interfaces will trigger the next wave of mobile computing? Through “living laboratories” such as the Aware Home, Georgia Tech was a pioneer in ubiquitous computing and remains a world leader in the field, with innovative programs in health systems, brain computer interfaces, assistive technologies, wearable computing, and augmented reality.

At the undergraduate level, ubicomp factors into many of our core classes. Project courses such as Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing, the Art of Prototyping Intelligent Appliances and Mobile Applications and Services Laboratory provide students with hands-on experience in creating prototypes and software, performing user studies and contextualizing current research. Graduate studies vary widely, reflecting both the rapidly changing nature of the field and the range of skills Ubicomp researchers must synthesize to create world-class work in the area.

Within the School of Interactive Computing, Gregory Abowd, Rosa Arriaga, Sauvik Das, Thomas Ploetz, Agata Rozga, and Thad Starner commonly publish at top venues in the field, with many more faculty contributing according to their current interests. We apply our research to solve real-world problems that impact individuals and communities at local, national, and international levels.

Coordinator: Thad Starner