Great Innovative Ideas

Great Innovative Ideas are a way to showcase the exciting new research and ideas generated by the computing community.

Wearable Health: Exploring Human-Centered Solutions of On-Body Technologies to Improve Healthcare

The following Great Innovative Idea is from Vivian Motti, Assistant Professvmotti_200jpgor in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University. Motti presented her poster, Wearable Health: Exploring Human-Centered Solutions of On-Body Technologies to Improve Healthcare, at the CCC Symposium on Computing Research, May 9-10, 2016.

The Idea

By combining a variety of sensors and actuators in multiple form factors, wearable technologies are versatile. They accommodate requirements of diverse applications, being successfully employed to support, enhance and replace human activities in several domains, including healthcare, transportation and education. A large number of wearable devices is commercially available today, and the shipments are also expected to grow in the future. Despite such a growth, wearable users tend to quickly abandon their devices and their sustained engagement is often limited. A limited understanding about the users’ needs and perspectives about wearables leads to applications whose features are limited in usefulness and relevance. Besides this, the wearable interaction is oftentimes complex for users to understand and insensitive to their individual contexts.

The close contact with the human body and continuous usage of wearables require technological solutions that are comfortable to wear and ease to use. To address this concern, the wearable design and development must carefully consider users’ needs, requirements and wishes in the implementation process, taking also into account the dynamic context changes that occur when users interact on the go. In the Human Centric Design Lab we investigate how wearable technologies can be designed so that users can take full advantage of them. We focus on human factors and wearability, defining design principles that facilitate the design, development and evaluation of wearable applications by considering key user requirements and quality factors.


A more comprehensive understanding about the users’ perspectives on wearable technologies facilitates the identification, classification and analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of current solutions, helping in the definition of new design guidelines and patterns to improve the development of next-generation technologies. We expect to improve the interfaces and interactive solutions of wearables by iteratively involving human users in the design process and by understanding how different contexts of use impact the overall user experience with emerging technologies. Our ultimate goal is to bring technology closer to users lives without disturbing, annoying or interrupting them, so that users of diverse profiles can take full advantage of wearable solutions regardless of the application domain.

Other Research

Concerning application domains, our research team focuses on opportunities for wearable applications in healthcare and education, for instance exploring the usage of a smart watch application that support students with learning disabilities, promoting their autonomy and assisting them in the learning process. We also investigate privacy aspects in the context of mobile and wearable applications, seeking to understand better the threats, risks and implications involved in these interaction scenarios, to devise solutions that are easier for users to understand and use. Our research on usable privacy focuses on small devices, such as smartphones and watches, and graphic user interfaces.

Researcher’s Background

Since January 2016, I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Sciences and Technology at George Mason University where I lead the Human-Centric Design Lab. I hold a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, and a Masters degree in Computer Science from the University of São Paulo, in Brazil. My research interests are Human-Computer Interaction and Ubiquitous Computing, in especial mobile and wearable applications for healthcare. My research goals focus on considering users’ needs, requirements and wishes to bring technology closer to users’ lives.


 For further information about my research, please check my website at
 You can also follow me in twitter @vivianmotti
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