GHC14

GHC2014: Wearable and Mobile Devices (Multiple Presentations)

The Survivable Social Network (3rd talk in the series)
This is post 4/4 of the talks I'm covering for GHC. You can view more information here!

I can't believe it's been three whole days already. I've definitely fallen in love with Phoenix and the convention center itself is also glorious (it's definitely bigger on the inside). This session features multiple presentations including: 
  • A Systematic Approach to Design and Develop Wearable Devices by Priyanka Bagade (Arizona State University)
  • Wearables - Winning in Fragmented Markets by Anna Miskiewicz (Intel) 
  • Survivable Social Network by Jonida Cali (VMware) 
A Systematic Approach to Design and Develop Wearable Devices by Priyanka Bagade (Arizona State University) 

Ms. Bagade presented solutions to each of the following challenges faced in designing wearable devices: noninvasiveness, safety, security, sustainability and reliability. I was really impressed wit  the (possible) solution for noninvasiveness. Apparently, it's possible to extract the patient's physiological data from the EEG of the doctor. (Currently, this method only has a 30% success rate, but it's still a start!) This is just about one of the coolest thing I've ever seen. 

I admit most of this talk went way over my head, as she presented a lot of diagrams and research results that I didn't really know how to interpret. :'( 

Wearables - Winning in Fragmented Markets by Anna Miskiewicz (Intel) 

I think she made a really interesting comment on wearables - they fit the description of "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." We're all familiar with watches, glasses, and jewelry, which makes the barrier to entry much lower. 

She's the first tech speaker I've heard to say "less is more." I think typically we all want the latest gadgets, but there are so many devices. People are only willing to carry so many devices and take care of so many devices (she compared our smartphones to Tamagotchis, "If you don't feed it, it dies!") so designers of wearables must be confident that there is room left on our bodies for the next big thing. 

"Paradox of choice" was also discussed. When we have more choices, we feel more anxiety at these choices (I don't know about you guys, but this is definitely true for me.) I think it's great that there are people in the tech field being conscious of overwhelming the user with choice. 

Survivable Social Network by Jonida Cali (VMware) 

Here's the problem: when disaster strikes, we have serious network outages, lack of human resources to aid, and unrealistic user expectations. She showed a model of a "survivable social network," which lets citizens reestablish communication using devices that we already have today. Outcomes of her research indicate that users can act as a human sensor network and that there's a need for communication validation. Systems for disaster relief should strive to provide bare minimum functionality, and incorporate geo-location and data visualization to make data more accessible. 

-Joan