Ross Stapleton-Gray sent me a pointer to a recent NSF grant to support research on the infrastructure needed for wearable computing. From the grant abstract:
The next-generation of embedded computing systems will be increasingly human-centric. Embedded devices will operate in an environment where they monitor and react to human activity as opposed to engineering artifacts. Transparent interfaces and implicit modes of human-computer interaction will be enabled by sensors that are unobtrusively embedded in our immediate environment. These sensors and other embedded devices will accompany their (human) host to ensure uninterrupted service. Applications of such devices will include augmenting human capabilities, logging past activities (e.g., as a memory aid or to provide longitudinal monitoring), ensuring safety, and enhancing social connections (by offering a new form of remote access to an individual). Personal effects (such as attire) are a prime target for instrumentation to enable the human-centric, embedded-computing vision. Smart wardrobes equipped with distributed sensing, computing and memory resources are thus likely to become an increasingly popular platform for embedded computing. The objective of this project is to investigate the software infrastructure required to enable and support future wearable embedded systems such as those that reside in smart wardrobes and other personal effects. The project identifies the challenges encountered in building such a software infrastructure, and develops a new embedded operating system and middleware service architecture to address these challenges.