Thad Starner is probably most well known for being a strong advocate for wearable computing. Some of the benefits he points out from wearing a computer include being able to type and access the Internet while walking around or talking to others allowing him to take notes on a conversation in real-time, opening up notes on a certain subject and e-mailing them at any time or even having two conversations at once, one online and one face to face, and if he comes across something he doesn’t know or recognize, he can instantly find out. In addition to augmenting the outside world, having a computer on at all times improves Starner’s temperament while giving talks; Starner claims to have a speech impediment but is able to speak more clearly when prompted by a computer. Starner is actually a Technical Lead/Manager on Google’s Project Glass wearable computing project.
One of his prominent research focuses is the involvement of wearable computing with American Sign Language (ASL). His work intends to create a bridge between the deaf and hearing communities that will facilitate communication between the two using an ASL-to-English one-way translator. Starner is also researching dual-purpose speech, where a wearable computer will be able to interpret certain speech patterns and bring up appropriate programs, such as a calendar for scheduling appointments. In addition, Starner has been involved in the Aware Home project, which uses technology to create an interactive and personalizable environment within the home that would benefit individuals who wouldn’t normally be able to live independently.
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