Evolution of the Wearable Computer
The Wearable Computer
The concept of wearable computers has been around for over half a century. Although the first wearable computer was invented to predict winning roulette numbers, wearable computers have the ability to benefit individuals and society. Wearable computers are by definition worn by the user, but are intended to interact with the wearer without punching keys or other manipulation. A wearable is always on and always working. It may have added features that interact with the environment such as GPS navigation and wireless communication.
- Wearable Computers: An overview and history.
Early Efforts for Computer Wearables
In 1961, Ed Thorpe and Claude Shannon invented a cigarette pack-sized pocket computer that was designed to predict roulette wheels. In 1967, Hubert Upton invented a computer mounted within a pair of eyeglasses to assist hearing-impaired individuals when lip reading. Two themes were prevalent in the early days of wearable computing: to assist the disabled and to predict the roulette wheel.
- The Invention of the First Wearable Computer: First-hand account from the co-inventor of the first wearable computer, Edward Thorpe.
- A Brief History of Wearable Computing: Chronological list and description of events.
- Wearable Computers: Discussion of early wearable computing efforts as well as future applications.
- The Evolution of Army Wearable Computers: The use of wearables in the military from prototypes to actual utilizations.
Steve Mann & WearComp
As technology advanced, components grew smaller and wearable computers became more practical. In 1981, Steve Mann designed a backpack-mounted computer to control cameras and other photographic equipment. Called WearComp, for wearable computer, Professor Mann continues to develop his invention.
- Wearable Computing: A First Step Toward Personal Imaging: Article by Steve Mann outlining uses and advantages of wearable computers.
- Wearable Computing: Toward Humanistic Intelligence: Article by Steve Mann about humanistic intelligence and how it applies to wearable computing.
- Embodiments of Prof. Mann’s WearComp Invention: Photos of Steve Mann and others using his wearable computer invention throughout the years.
Today’s Wearable Computers
As intelligent agents become more sophisticated, the range of wearable computer applications continues to grow. Today’s wearable computers have the ability to enhance the lives of the disabled, improve job performance, increase safety, monitor health, and provide real-time data to the user. Work and research continues to improve the performance and scope of the wearable computer in order to fully realize its potential.
- Wearable Computers: Describes how wearable computers might impact the job of firefighters.
- A Study of Wearable Computing: Detailed description of wearable computing along with current uses and future possibilities.
- Arming the Food Police: Wearable computers move t o mainstream.
- Next Generation Wearable Networks: Discusses the future of the wearable computer.
- SWAN: Wearable system to enhance audio navigation for the visually impaired.
- In Human Grid, We Are the Cogs: News of the development of a wearable computer with a camera to assist the visually impaired grocery shop.
- Visual Context Awareness in Wearable Computing: Example of an intelligent assistant and its use in game playing.
- The Future of Wearable Computing: Discusses the future of wearable computing and the challenges ahead.
- Project Using Wireless Technology to Track Mosquitoes: Using a combination of a wireless assistant and a wearable computer, disease-carrying mosquitoes are identified and tracked.
- Real Situations: Wearable Computers Used for Video Conferencing: Current and future video conferencing uses.
- Disaster Response: The role of wearable computers in response to disaster.
Wearable Computing News & Resources
Universities such as MIT, NC State, the University of Toronto, and many others continue to research and explore the ways that wearable computing will improve and enhance the lives of users in a variety of circumstances.
- EyeTap: Steve Mann’s personal imaging and wearing computer lab.
- Wearable Computing Systems: The Wearable Computer Department of NC State research lab.
- Wearable Computing Laboratory: University of Oregon wearable computer lab.
- Trend: Augmented Reality Check: Discussion of trends in wearable computing.