TORONTO WEARABLES MEETUP 19: JORGE SILVA, DR. KERYN LIAN
Friday August 19th, 2016

This month we were fortunate to bring in Dr. Keryn Lian from University of Toronto’s Flexible Energy and Electronics Laboratory.  Lian provided an overview of the work conducted at the lab and the discussed her lab’s connection with wearable technology.  Her lab explores printing electronics alternatives to plastics and paper, specifically looking at the complete printing of organic crossbar electronics, switches and logic circuits. They are researching and experimenting ways to make batteries dry as opposed to acid-based, liquid filled batteries that populate our electronics in this current day.  Other areas of research including looking at flexible electrochemical capacitance and printed organic field energy transistors. With regards to wearables, they are looking at wearable energy storage, for example by knitting with different types of materials that become capacitive (ie. knitting carbon fibre).

Jorge Silva discussed design for all abilities by highlighting features of current popular technologies (eg. Touch screens) that prove as obstacles for people with various ranges of abilities. His team at Komodo Lab has developed a device that allows people to interact with computers and touch screen devices using a variety of gestures and technologies familiar to them.  As Silva illustrates in a short video, for 16 year old Christopher who lives with Cerebral Palsy, this assistive technology has provide avenues of communication he never had before.  He isn’t able to speak, and wasn’t able to conform to the standard keyboard as a device, but with Komodo Lab’s Tecla, which integrates hardware, software (Android and iOS) Christopher is able to interface with his familiar wheelchair joystick to select letters on a screen.  In this moving video, Christopher’s mother shares the joyous moment of the first time was able to contact her on her cell phone.  Silva asks us why, in our “advanced” technological world, did it take 16 years for this boy to make a phone call?  “Because,” he states, “the world wasn’t designed for him”.  “No one expects the inclusion of disability”; this is why designing assistive technology in a user-centric way is of utmost importance.

There was a presentation by Robert, an OCAD design student who has made a jacket that displays real-time data of the next arriving TTC vehicle. The jacket uses Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with one’s mobile phone where it accesses GPS and next vehicle information.  The number of minutes for the next vehicle is displayed through a hand-sewn soft LED matrix on the back of the jacket.  Robert’s project gave the audience a good hands-on example of the hard work and detail that goes into wearable tech projects by balancing craft techniques for soft circuit building and computation for programming.



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This month we were fortunate to bring in Dr. Keryn Lian from University of Toronto’s Flexible Energy and Electronics Laboratory.  Lian provided an overview of the work conducted at the lab and the discussed her lab’s connection with wearable technology.  Her lab explores printing electronics alternatives to plastics and paper, specifically looking at the complete printing of organic crossbar electronics, switches and logic circuits. They are researching and experimenting ways to make batteries dry as opposed to acid-based, liquid filled batteries that populate our electronics in this current day.  Other areas of research including looking at flexible electrochemical capacitance and printed organic field energy transistors. With regards to wearables, they are looking at wearable energy storage, for example by knitting with different types of materials that become capacitive (ie. knitting carbon fibre).

Jorge Silva discussed design for all abilities by highlighting features of current popular technologies (eg. Touch screens) that prove as obstacles for people with various ranges of abilities. His team at Komodo Lab has developed a device that allows people to interact with computers and touch screen devices using a variety of gestures and technologies familiar to them.  As Silva illustrates in a short video, for 16 year old Christopher who lives with Cerebral Palsy, this assistive technology has provide avenues of communication he never had before.  He isn’t able to speak, and wasn’t able to conform to the standard keyboard as a device, but with Komodo Lab’s Tecla, which integrates hardware, software (Android and iOS) Christopher is able to interface with his familiar wheelchair joystick to select letters on a screen.  In this moving video, Christopher’s mother shares the joyous moment of the first time was able to contact her on her cell phone.  Silva asks us why, in our “advanced” technological world, did it take 16 years for this boy to make a phone call?  “Because,” he states, “the world wasn’t designed for him”.  “No one expects the inclusion of disability”; this is why designing assistive technology in a user-centric way is of utmost importance.

There was a presentation by Robert, an OCAD design student who has made a jacket that displays real-time data of the next arriving TTC vehicle. The jacket uses Bluetooth to wirelessly communicate with one’s mobile phone where it accesses GPS and next vehicle information.  The number of minutes for the next vehicle is displayed through a hand-sewn soft LED matrix on the back of the jacket.  Robert’s project gave the audience a good hands-on example of the hard work and detail that goes into wearable tech projects by balancing craft techniques for soft circuit building and computation for programming.