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University of Hawaii

Electrical Engineering

Why Wear a Battery? The Future of Wearables May be Batteryless

Date: 2019-06-27           Add to Google Calendar
Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm
Location: Holmes 389
Speaker: Dr. Josiah David Hester, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Wearable devices are very promising for addressing a range of urgent needs in health and eldercare, safety, activity tracking, wellbeing, entertainment, and myriad other applications. By continuously sensing and analyzing data these platforms have also enabled a broad set of research paths in these same domains. Despite this wide usage, the current state of wearables has not yet met the vision that many hold, of unobtrusive devices that support our life and well-being in perpetuity without maintenance; finally realizing Weiser’s vision of invisible computing, where a person no longer need to manage or maintain personal devices. This next step in wearable technology requires re-imagining fundamental building blocks and assumptions held on what a wearable can do.. Many challenges exist, including security and privacy, usability, social stigma and pressure, and of course, energy. In this talk we focus on the problem of energy and device lifetime in wearable devices and contemplate what the requirements are to realize wearables that are truly maintenance free and last for decades. We first discuss early efforts to sustain long battery lifetimes on commodity hardware devices. We then question the role of batteries and build on recent work showing that energy harvesting and battery-free operation offer a tantalizing path towards a new generation of wearable computing. This talk will end with a discussion of the real challenges in realizing ubiquitous computing with battery-free wearables, the potential research paths, and the exciting
applications we can begin to tackle.

Josiah Hester is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Computer Science at Northwestern University. He directs Ka Moamoa, a mobile and ubiquitous computing lab. His work is funded by NSF and the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems. His research enables sophisticated, sustainable sensing on the tiny devices at the edge of the Internet of Things, with application domains in wearables and health, infrastructure monitoring and even space exploration. Wearable platforms he has developed have been deployed on 100s of people in multiple studies with tens of thousands of hours of worn sensor data captured. His work is published at USENIX ATC, ACM SenSys, and various prestigious journals, and has received a Best Paper Award and Best Paper Nomination from ACM SenSys, and two Best Poster Awards. He was also named the Outstanding PhD Student in Computer Science for 2016 by the School of Computing at Clemson University.