Thad Starner

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Thad Starner is founder and director of the Contextual Computing Group at Georgia Institute of Technology's College of Computing. Before joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 1999, Starner gained international recognition as a leader in the field of wearable computing for his doctoral work involving Wearable Computing and Contextual Awareness[1] at the MIT Media Laboratory. Thad is a co-founder of the IEEE International Symposium on Wearable Computers (ISWC) and co-founder and first member of the MIT Wearable Computing Project. Starner has consulted for Fortune 500 companies and authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters.

Starner is perhaps best known for being a strong proponent for wearable computing. An advocate of continuous-access, everyday-use systems, Thad has worn his custom wearable computer in such a manner since 1993. During his time at the MIT Media Lab, became one of the world's leading experts on the subject. Since 1993, Starner has been wearing his own customized wearable computer system full time. He designed the hardware for his system, dubbed "The Lizzy", based on designs of the wearable "hip PC" designed by Doug Platt, who built Starner's original wearable. The original system consisted of custom parts from a kit made by Park Enterprises, a Private Eye display, and a Twiddler chorded keyboard. In addition to augmenting the outside world, having a computer on at all times improves Starner's nerves while giving talks; Starner claims to have a speech impediment but is able to speak more clearly when prompted by a computer.[2]


  1. Starner, Thad. Wearable computing and contextual awareness. Doctoral Dissertation. Alex Pentland, Advisor. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, 1999.
  2. Biography adapted from Starner, Thad. Curriculum Vitae. Accessed Oct 2011.