schedule MAT200A 02W
Report by: Garry Kling
Wearable Computers (or something like them) have been a dream of futurists, science fiction writers, and business people, among many others since the dawn of the industrial age. The very notion of a wearable computer is strongly connected to the basic concept of a tool, and harks back to paleolithic nomadic culture. The new nomadism in the practical sense of decentralized modern life dominated by travel and communication relies on a new class of tools not made of stone, but of plastic and silicon.
On this site, I have many links to various research and artistic projects related to Wearable Computing. In addition to a collection of intersting links, I would also like to look at a few specific projects of interest to highlight a few of the main directions in the field, and also the drawbacks of traditional academic research models.
By way of clarification, I would like to delineate the types of devices I am going discuss in this site. While devices such as mobile phones, gps units, and PDAs can be considered "wearable", they are sufficiently ubiquitous in modern society that there are many resources for interested parties to investigate (linked below). While many of the projects I examine do contain similar functionality, I'm interested both in the wearable computer as functional clothing or accessory, and in the aspects of the research involved.
I would like to present the concept of a wearable computer given by Steve Mann:
"Let's imagine a new approach to computing in which the apparatus is always ready for use because it is worn like clothing. The computer screen, which also serves as a viewfinder, is visible at all times and performs multimodal computing (text and images)." 
Wearable Computing is further defined to have six desirable attributes byt Steve Mann:
1. Unmonopolizing of the user's attention.
2. Unrestrictive to the user.
3. Observable by the user.
4. Controllable by the user.
5. Attentive to the environment.
6. Communicative to others.
Further, he writes that Wearable Computing should also be constant (always
on), personalized, prosthetic, assertive (you can take it with you anywhere),
private: others can't observe you controlling or using it.
Here are links to the main featured projects for this page and my presentation:
MIT Wearable Computing Group
The matchbox webserver.
A system designed for quality control workers in a meat packing plant.
University of Karlsruhe
International Symposium on Wearable Computers
MIT Media Lab
University of Oregon
University of Washington
University of Bristol
WORKSHOP ON WEARABLE COMPUTING
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology