Major grant for wearable computing to aid research
Press release issued: 1 February 2010
A multidisciplinary project that aims to revolutionise the design of technologies for supporting research has been awarded a grant of £1.7m by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the RCUK Digital Economy programme.
The project, entitled PATINA (Personal Architectonics of Interfaces to Artefacts) will be led by the University of Bristol in collaboration with the Universities of Brighton, Greenwich, Newcastle, Southampton and Swansea. The project includes involvement from Microsoft Research, Nokia Research and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Current digital research support systems draw the researcher’s attention away from the material concerned. PATINA will provide researchers with new opportunities to create research spaces that emphasise the primacy of research material, and support the sharing of research activities as well as results.
The consortium will build wearable technologies that can identify objects such as books or historical artefacts and use miniature projectors to enhance those objects with related digital information taken from the web. These technologies will also provide the means to capture, record, and replay the researcher's activities to support archiving, sharing and publication of this research activity. The design of the technologies will draw on ‘templates’ developed from studies of research spaces including libraries, museums, homes and archaeological sites.
Dr Mike Fraser, from the Bristol Interaction and Graphics group in the Department of Computer Science, said: ‘Imagine walking in the footsteps of famous researchers and seeing how the provenance of your developing ideas links with theirs through shared objects that exist both online and in the real world. This grant demonstrates just how important it is to explore substantive design dialogues between arts and engineering disciplines to our mutual benefit. We expect this project to have immediate and lasting impact on the ways in which research is conducted.’
The project begins in June 2010 and will run for three years.