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ISMAR 2014 - Sep 10-12 - Munich, Germany

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The Glass Class: Designing Wearable Interfaces


Session TitleRoomStartEnd
The Glass Class: Designing Wearable InterfacesHS2Tuesday 09 Sep, 2014 09:00 AM12:00 PM
Mark Billinghurst, The HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury, New Zealand


The course will teach how to create compelling user experiences for wearable computers focusing on design guidelines, prototyping tools, research directions, and a hands-on design experience.  These topics will be presented using a number of platforms such as Google Glass, the Recon Jet and Vuzix M-100, although the material will be relevant to other wearable devices.

The class will begin with an overview of almost 50 years of wearable computing, beginning with the casino computers of Ed Thorp, through the pioneering efforts of researchers at CMU and MIT, to the most recent commercial systems. The key technology components of a wearable system will be covered, as well as some of the theoretical underpinnings.

Next, a set of design guidelines for developing wearable user interfaces will be presented. These include lessons learned from using wearables on a daily basis, design patterns from existing wearable interfaces, and relevant results from the research community. These will be presented in enough details that attendees will be able to use them in their own wearable designs.

The third section of the course will introduce a number of tools that can be used for rapid prototyping of wearable interfaces. These include screen-building tools such as Glasssim, through to templating tools that support limited interactivity, and simple programming tools such as Processing.

This will lead into a section that discusses the technology of wearable systems in more detail. For example, the different types of head mounted displays for wearables, tracking technology for wearable AR interfaces, input devices, etc.

Finally, we will discuss active areas of research that will affect wearable interfaces over the next few years. This includes technologies such as new display hardware, input devices, body worn sensors, and connectivity.

The course will have the following educational goals:


  • Provide an introduction to head mounted wearable computers
  • Give an understanding of current wearable computing technology
  • Describe key design principles/interface metaphors
  • Provide an overview of the relevant human perceptual principles
  • Explain how to use Processing for rapid prototyping
  • Show how to capturing and use sensor input
  • Outline active areas of research in wearable computing
  • Hands on demonstrations with Google Glass and other wearable computers 



9:00 - 9:10 Introduction
9:10 - 9:30 Technology Overview
9:30 - 10:00 Design Guidelines
10:00 - 10:15 Demos
10:15 - 10:45 Development/Prototyping Tools
10:45 - 11:00 Demos
11:00 - 11:30 Wearable Technology
11:30 - 11:40 Example Application
11:40-12:00 Research Directions and Further Resources 

Form of Presentation

The tutorial will be presented through slide presentation material, videos, live demonstrations/coding examples, and hands-on demonstrations with a number of wearable systems and displays. Most of the material presented in the tutorial will also be provided online so that all of the attendees will have access to it later.

Intended Audience

This course is designed for people that would like to learn how to design and develop applications for head mounted wearable computers. The course assumes that people are able to develop their own Android software or have access to developers who can implement their designs. It also assumes familiarity of the basics of the user-centered design process and interaction design. The principles and tools learned should be relevant to a wide range of wearable computers such as Google Glass, Vuzix M-100, etc.

Instructor Background

Professor Mark Billinghurst is the director of the HIT Lab NZ at the University of Canterbury, one of the leading centers for Augmented Reality research and development. He has nearly 20 years experience of research in wearable and mobile devices, producing over 250 publications, and many innovative applications. He has a PhD from the University of Washington and conducts research in Augmented and Virtual Reality, multimodal interaction and mobile interfaces. He has previously worked at ATR Research Labs, British Telecom, Nokia and the MIT Media Laboratory. He was awarded the 2013 IEEE VR Technical Achievement Award for contributions to research and commercialization in Augmented Reality. In 2001 he co-founded ARToolworks, one of the oldest commercial AR companies. In 2012 he was on sabbatical in the Google Glass team.

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