ECE 5564 Wearable and Ubiquitous Computing | ECE | Virginia Tech


Course Information


Issues in the design and use of wearable and ubiquitous computing systems. Topics covered include current research issues in system-level low power design, input/output devices, location and context-awareness, and networking. Students are expected to design, implement, and evaluate a wearable computing device or application.

Why take this course?

Wearable and ubiquitous computing is a rapidly growing area in industry as well as academic research, with a shortage of workers familiar with its unique constraints. (See, for example, Kiely, D. "Wanted: Programmers for Handheld Devices," IEEE Computer, May 2001, pp. 12-14.) Students who take this course will be well-prepared to work in the area as well as to assess it for application in a variety of areas; students will not be exposed to the area in any other course.


4534 or 4550

ECE 4534 or ECE 4550. These courses will provide the students with experience in system-level computer implementation and an exposure to the hardware and software issues involved, a necessary background for the research topics covered in ECE 5564 (e.g., low power design, sensors and software for context-aware computers) and the course’s design projects. In particular, these two courses have extensive projects involving the interaction between hardware and operating system, device driver, scheduling and networking software.

Major Measurable Learning Objectives

  • describe and discuss constraints unique to wearable and ubiquitous computing platforms and applications,
  • design, develop and evaluate a wearable computing application,
  • apply state-of-the-art hardware and software development tools to computer system design, and
  • communicate both orally and in writing with other members of a team.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Overview of wearable and ubiquitous computing 15%
Low power hardware issues 15%
Low power software issues 15%
Hardware examples and input/output devices 20%
Location and context-awareness 15%
Research issues in wearable/ubiquitous computing applications 20%