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Wearable computer follows suit of smart phones
KAIST hosts “Wearable Computer Competition” in KI Building, Daejeon Campus, on the 7th-8th of November “Computer that controls smart phones with the movement of facial muscles” and 12 other wearable computers to be presented As technology transitions to “Wearable Computers,” KAIST is hosting its 9th “Wearable Computer Competition.” The competition will take place over two days, 7th-8th of November, in KI building, on the main Daejeon Campus. The “wearable computer” is designed to enable users to use the computer whilst moving by limiting its weight and size so that it can be worn as a part of the body and clothing. Wearable computers have been considered the future of information technology (IT) ever since smart phones and other miniaturized IT devices made an appearance. The “Wearable Computer Competition” has been held since 2005 under the leadership of Professor Hoi-Jun Yoo from the KAIST Department of Electrical Engineering. It is the only competition in the nation where undergraduate students use their unique ideas and newest technology to produce computers that seem to be existed only in sci-fi movies and comic books. A total of 15 teams out of 70 made the competition and went through a rigorous selection process based on written applications and interviews to enter the final. The teams at the final received USD 1,400 and IT devices including smart phones to produce a wearable computer. KAIST increased the number of finalists from the last year"s 10 to 15 this year as the wearable computer industry is extending, and there is growing interest in the computer around the world after the launch of Google Glass and Samsung Galaxy Gear. This year’s entries included a product for quadriplegic patients to control smart phones with the movement of facial muscles, which attracted public interest. The product in the form of a headband can be worn by quadriplegic patients or someone with limited hand movement. The user can activate the product by clenching their molars and move the mouse on the smart phones with the movement of muscles in their face. Furthermore, a wearable band shaped device that can control smart phones with simple hand movements is also attracting interest. Broad hand movements of the user allows him/her to receive calls and take photos, and handshakes between users control sharing of files. Body communication can be used to protect private information without a password or locking the device. In addition, gloves and shoes that can sense the user’s movement to play an instrument without the instrument being present; a cane for the blind that converts visual information to tactile; a belt that protects children from sexual crimes; and a game where the user can be Super Mario to play and other practical products are presented. The chairman of the competition, Professor Yoo said, “As you can see from the launch of Samsung Galaxy Gear, wearable computers will follow smart phones as the leader of IT devices in the next generation.” He continued, “This competition and workshop is an opportunity to increase public interest in wearable computers and serves as a communication platform for experts to view the present and the future of wearable computers.” The “Wearable Computer Workshop” will be held this year as well. The workshop under the theme of “the present and the future of wearable computers” invited Professor Kyu-Ho Park, Vice President of KAIST, as a keynote speaker to talk on “ubiquitous, fashionable computers.” Moreover, Samsung’s Dong-Jun Geum and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute’s Hyeon-Tae Jeong will lecture on the “trend and direction of progress of wearable devices” and the “technological trend and prospect of industry of wearable computers,” respectively. To participate in the competition or the workshop, please visit the website (http://www.ufcom.org) for further information.
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