Bristol Wearable Computing

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Project Meeting March 3rd, 1998

10 am in David's office

Present: DavidM, Henk, Jim


Henk has been making improvements to the CyberJacket. In particular he has reduced the software from some 50MB down to about 12MB of Linux and another 5MB of things such as speech synthesiser. This has enabled him to cut out the hard drive and run all the software from the 20MB flash card. This has two effects: one source of reliability problems is removed and the battery life of the jacket is improved by about 30% (30-60mins). Henk has also added some fuses in case of inadvertent battery shorts!

The team discussed the problem of phone based communications - after one connection is made to an individual or server, no one else can get through because the line is engaged thereafter! Obvious really! What we need is a true wireless LAN. Is this a real problem for wearable systems, or just an artifact of the way that we have set up our prototype? In the future there are likely to be many different communication infrastructures, eg web-based telephony going via and ISP, or simply low-latency, packet based delivery services. The current packet based delivery systems are too slow and expensive.

Henk also suggested that we buy one of Clive Sinclair's latest in-the-ear radios and then transmit to them from the CyberJacket in order to make a wireless audio output device for our jacket. Good idea! PhilN (after this meeting) supported the suggestion - use near field radio! He suggested placing the transmitter in the jacket collar in which case a 6 inch range would be adequate and within regulations.

We then discussed the idea of the wireless wearable. Would special clothing be required in order to provide connections for a personal area network, or would a lower bandwidth wireless solution be adequate? DavidM thought that it impossible to guess at this stage and suggested we run with both options. Henk also raised the power problem.

Jim went through some design issues for the wireless display vision. These are vaguely technical and so are covered here. The demo should include both a hand-held display and a walk-up display. In both cases initial interaction with the displays comes using near field radio (PhilN's FootBridge 12 inch range near field radio is a good candidate). Thereafter the handheld display may also communicate using FootBridge (at some 300-500kbps), whereas the walk-up display may use infra-red or wireless either direct or via a LAN-connected receiver.

ERP contractual issues should be resolved soon (yes, they've been going on for ages). It currently hinges on tying in agreements with those for the Uni's EE department. When the contract is resolved, we can order a new PC and make RA offers! The new PC will allow Henk to participate more fully in this web according to his preferred methods (he doesn't like FrontPage!).

Jim nagged everyone about the importance of doucmenting our design ideas on the web as we progress. There was general agreement.

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