Scientists invent tool to improve usability of mobile devices

The rapid increase in mobile technology such as smart phones and watches, tablets and Google Glass, has resulted in the need for more research to ensure those devices work well.

But, says Wichita State assistant professor Jibo He, there are no good tools to properly test mobile devices. So He, along with WSU professor Barb Chaparro, invented a solution using the latest technology of Google Glass.

It’s called uSee Glass and is a software application that allows remote observers to conduct usability testing. This week, He and Chaparro filed for a patent on the software.

These are the ways it works:

Participant point of view: The user can wear Google Glass, which includes the uSee Glass software and a video camera. The uSee Glass will capture scenes from the participant’s point of view and stream it for remote observation.

Researcher point of view: The researcher can have the uSee Glass application installed in his or her Google Glass and capture scenes from the researcher’s point of view. The researcher can also have uSee Glass installed in an Android tablet or a smart watch and use the application to communicate with remote observers. Wearing Google Glass or a smart watch allows the researcher to receive a tactile notification when a new message from remote observers arrives. They can also tap on the touchpad of Google Glass to mark important events.

Remote observation: A researcher can observe the scene remotely from anywhere using a computer with an Internet browser. The remote observer can communicate with the researcher via an Android device.

“Currently there’s no good way to do mobile research,” He said. “You can use a web cam, but that’s not from the point of view of the user. USee Glass for Google Glass and smart watches provides a new tool for mobile research. ”

Widespread possibilities

Part of what stands out about this tool is that it allows the researcher the ability to text and communicate with the user while he/she is looking at and interacting with a device. It makes for more efficient research, Chaparro says.

uSee Glass will also help further research that He is conducting on Google Glass. He is one of only a few people in Wichita to have early access to Google Glass and is researching the safety of people using the device while they drive.

While He and Chaparro are focusing their research on Google Glass and other mobile devices, there are potential ramifications for all kinds of industries, such as science, health care, aviation and agriculture.

“The possibilities apply to really any domain,” Chaparro said.

Courtesy: NewsWise

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