Definition

wearable computer

Some inventors and other theorists not only believe you could wear a computer; they believe there's no reason why you shouldn't. Assuming you remembered to wear it, a wearable computer is always available. Currently, several companies sell wearables and there is a considerable literature on the subject. Some wearable computers are basically desktop or notebook computers that have been scaled down for body-wear. Others employ brand new technology. Both general and special purposes are envisioned. A number of wearables have been designed for the disabled.

Among the challenges of wearable computers are: how to minimize their weight and bulkiness, how and where to locate the display, and what kind of data entry device to provide. Some of the applications envisioned for wearable computers include:

  • Augmented memory, a concept originated by Thad Starner and being developed by Bradley Rhodes at the MIT Media Lab, in which as you enter a room, your wearable computer could sense the people present and remind you of their names or personal history, or a scheduler could whisper the time of an important meeting in your ear, or a "remembrance agent" could look for related documents by observing the words you were typing
  • Immediate access to important data for anyone whose occupation requires mobility, such as real estate agents, rural doctors, fire and police professionals, lawyers in courtrooms, horse bettors, military personnel, stock brokers, and many others
  • The ability to take notes immediately. For example, for reporters, geologists, botanists, vendor show representatives, field service repair personnel.

This was last updated in May 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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