Wearable Computing Group

The Wearable Computing Group is a research group within the computer and information science department at the University of Oregon that focuses on the development and evaluation of wearable and mobile computing technology for facilitating and augmenting human collaboration.

Started in 1995 by Professor Zary Segell and Ph.D Student Gerd Kortuem, the group specializes in exploring the community aspects of wireless, wearable and peer-to-peer technologies.[1]

Personal Area Network

P2P computing and wireless network technologies has made the design of ad hoc networks of mobile devices to support the ad hoc networks of the people who wear them. This fundamental unit cited by Kortuem and other computing researches is known as the personal area network.

Kortuem treats the personal area networks as building blocks of a dynamic community of networks with emergent capabilities of its own.[2] The community of personal area network users within a geographic location functions as a wireless mess network, dynamically self organizing a cloud of brad-band connectivity as nodes came in and out of physical proximity, providing always-on Internet connection to members. With Bluetooth technology, member of the communities allow engagement in more timely information exchange face to face and WiFi technologies provides the infrastructure for neighbourhood-wide and Internet-wide communication.


Auranet is the University of Oregon's Wearable Computing groups implementation of a wearable community. The Auranet is the network of computing devices that exist in a person's social space or "Aura". The Auranet is where people and their personal computing devices have face-to-face encounters.[3]

The idea of wearable community is based on the belief that non-monetary exchange of value is the essence of community. A community is about helping each other, about shared values, and creating and managing mutually beneficial relations. In that respect, wearable communities are similar to community web sites on the Internet. Their common goal is to use technology to enhance the spirit of cooperation. But what community sites do it in Cyberspace, wearable communities do in real life.[3]

Distributed reputation system

Wearable devices can share bandwidths by acting as nodes in an ad hoc wireless network, which can exchange media and messages using links between individual nodes to transmit data. However, when members of the communities allow their computers to automatically exchange information, issues of trust and privacy intervene.[4]

In order for mobile ad hoc communities to self-organized properly, a trust system is needed to make people feel secure about their privacy and trust to allow effective contribution of their personal area network. The group has therefore prototyped a distributed reputation system, that uses encryption techniques to secure wearable community infrastructure.[4]

See also


  1. Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart Mobs:the Next Social Revolution. Perseus, Cambridge. p.169
  2. Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart Mobs:the Next Social Revolution. Perseus, Cambridge. p170
  3. 1 2 http://www.cs.uoregon.edu/research/wearables/index.html
  4. 1 2 Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart Mobs:the Next Social Revolution. Perseus, Cambridge. p.172
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