Department of Computer Science

Virtual Reality to Go
Wearable Computing
is defined as next generation computing which is expected to seamlessly blend computing embodied within the human-body. New miniaturized devices are appearing in fashion shows and movies, leading to new awareness of computing which can extend the boundaries of human-computer interaction. Miniaturized head-mounted displays and eye-glasses, watches, jackets, and PDAs are some examples of such technology combining VR with VLSI technology. MIT Media Lab and University of Washington, Seattle's wearable computing labs are some leading laboratories extending the frontiers of this important field.

A Wearable Computing Laboratory at UCCS has been formed teaming Computer Science Professor Semwal, and ECE Department Professor Dandapani. Dr. Semwal brings his expertise in the area virtual reality and graphics to the lab. Dr. Dandapani provides expertise in the area of VLSI technology and is also the Chair of the ECE Department. At this time, this lab is situated within the room 149. Some equipments available are: Magnetic Trackers through an Intel Grant to Semwal; an SGI donated by Miagration Associate Corporation through Dr. Ziemer, Director of Research Development Center is also housed within this laboratory. Other equipments are expected in the future.

Existing support for area
Dr. Semwal brings his expertise in the area virtual reality, graphics and HCI to this effort and will be teaching a course on wearable computing in spring 2003. Dr. Dandapani, Chair of ECE Department, provides expertise in the area of VLSI technology and is the cofounder of the Wearable Computing laboratory with Dr. Semwal. Dr. Chow is providing the mobile computing and network research support to our efforts. Dr. Wang will provide the VLSI, parallel processing, and mobile computing efforts. Dr. Carlos Araujo, a systems-in-chip expert, is part of the team providing his vast knowledge of running a successful company (Symetrix). In addition, Drs. Kalkur, Plett, and Cilletti have been also identified as interested in the general area of system-on-chip which complement the wearable computing research. Research in the area of medical applications is expected with the Biology departments ( Drs. Jeff Broker, Melamede, Dana Fields ), and Dr. John Elias of Medical Education and Research Group of Colorado. A large number of graduate (approximately 30) students are already working in these areas with Drs. Semwal, Dandapani, Chow, Wang, and Araujo, Kalkur and others.

At present, the wearable computing laboratory will be housing Magnetic Trackers through an Intel Grant; and an SGI donated by Miagration Associate Corporation through Dr. Ziemer, Director of Research Development Center. In addition, Microvision's NOMAD system for augmented reality work would also be available to this laboratory. Other equipments and projects are expected in the future for both research and teaching.

Employment opportunities
The general area is already supported by existing courses: there are six courses related to the general area of Wearable Computing, Human Computer Interaction, Graphics, virtual reality. In addition ECE Department offers several courses in the area of VLSI design and communication . In addition mobile computing courses are being offered in the area of networks in both CS and ECE Departments. Together, these already provide a solid foundation to pursue this exciting field. Wearable computing also is an application of systems-on-chip design and mobile computing. Students with an expertise in these areas already find employment locally. In addition, wearable computing will be an important aspect of future computing and is expected to provide students jobs locally, state-wise and internationally. Because Wearable Computing has applications for both military and civilian application, participation with North Command through NISCC, and support of local telecommunication industry would be sought.

External funding opportunities
NSF, NIH, Education (K-12) are examples of national agencies. Partnership with district schools (K-12) is expected as wearable computing can directly benefit the teaching efforts. Traditionally military applications have dominated the Wearable computing research in the past, and collaboration with NISSC and Northern Command is expected. Aerospace Engineering applications, medical applications, nano-devices, biomedical and biomechanical applications of nano-devices are but a few examples of commercial applications of our research.

Community engagement
Olympic training center , UCCS biology department, K-12 education, Aerospace Industry, Intel VLSI industry, Symetrix are examples of community partnership which we expect to form. Relationship with NISCC , North Command , and local telecommunications industry is expected and will be sought.

We believe that a critical mass exist in the college to conduct teaching, research and outreach activity in this area, and no immediate resources are needed at this time. Depending upon the funding, there might be a need to hire more faculty/laboratory space sometime in next five years. As a part of systems-on-chip and mobile computing, wearable computing group will be seeking seed grants through college and university as appropriate.