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Wearable Computers...?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Does anyone know anything about wearable computers?

Do you think a wearable computer would ever be viable?

What will you be willing to pay?

What sort of features do you think it must have to be sucessful?

What sort of human interface, processing capabilities and storage must it have?

What could one use to create a wearable computer in terms of current/near-future hardware? What OS?
post #2 of 36
Kewl Topic. <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
Wearable... Hmmm... The mini progected screen (monitor) in the lens of your eyeglasses, or bounced off a small mirror in your eyeglasses into your retna have both been tested, and are both on their way.
What they will run with is hard to say, but Apple could think about this with the iPod2. By then the storage should be bigger (more space in limited sizes) , and you will probably be able to connect it (iPod2) to your 3G wireless broadband phone. Speech recognition would be the most concielable, and lightest way of inputing commands, and/or text. Hmmm... Someone else give it a go, or continue.


[ 12-06-2001: Message edited by: Chung King ]</p>
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post #3 of 36
post #4 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Chung King:
<strong>The mini progected screen (monitor) in the lens of your eyeglasses, or bounced off a small mirror in your eyeglasses into your retna have both been tested, and are both on their way. </strong><hr></blockquote>
The only thing I have to say about these things is, nearsighted hell & eye strain city.
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post #5 of 36
<a href="http://www.antionline.com/attachment.php?s=&postid=309541" target="_blank">click me!</a> <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
post #6 of 36
Here's the thing:

I agree with earlier post(s) about eyestrain, battery life and whatnot, the technology is just not ready. However, we already have wearable-enough computers in PDA's and cell phones.

AirSluf has it right with augmented cognition. Or how about infallible memory? Or "intelligence" modules that can give the user skills in certain areas, accounting, art, sex :eek: , you get the picture. It's just not going to catch on until it's seamless with being human.

My 2 pesos,

Composer
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post #7 of 36
Read Peter hamilton's books.

They peripherally involve people with brain implants and strings of nanotech computing modules strung amongst their neurons that give them super recall and other abilities of computers. Makes for excellent running of a cmpany, for instance. You could have a company buy an iplant ed brain for a CEO and have him sign his next decade over to them...
post #8 of 36
Was he the one who wrote about the pocketbrain? Anyway, if we ever get that far and allow ourselves to do it, we'll probably never see another PC again. In fact, it would probably reduce external computer networks to bare nubbins. I think.
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post #9 of 36
I want a 10Ghz G7 PPC with 20 Gb DDR, NerveWire, and OS XX implanted IN MY BRAIN!!!
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post #10 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Composer:
<strong>Was he the one who wrote about the pocketbrain? Anyway, if we ever get that far and allow ourselves to do it, we'll probably never see another PC again. In fact, it would probably reduce external computer networks to bare nubbins. I think.</strong><hr></blockquote>

I came up with something called the PocketMac. A small base device with iGlasses + speakers at the end of one cord. Input via Voice and some sort of esoteric input device on the side of the base unit.

Expensive, yes. Miniaturization still costs. But look at the iPod! Let's fold up the internal components of the iBook four times over so it's a thick block with metal exposed all over to disipate heat of the G3. You can clip it on your belt.
post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 
Wouldn't your crotch get a just a little warm?
post #12 of 36
Hey, I posted about iGlasses a year ago. I even had a mockup.
post #13 of 36
There was a big push on several years ago for a wearable computer. Most of the work on it was done at Colleges and Universities. The biggest problems were battery life, size of the unit and the lack of really good voice recognition. Many attempts were made to come up with an input device to take the place of the keyboard, but nothing really worked well.
Presently there is some R&D work going on for commercial applications, but without a replacement for the keyboard or really good voice recognition there really isn't a way to impliment it. Size, battery life, further and the introduction of secure wireless means that all of the other parts can be put togeather.
The main work in the field is being done for and by the military. Several companies have contracts for R&D for such devices. Unfortunately much of the work is classified and will not trickle down to the consumer world for awhile.
Can such a computer be built and actually be useful and that consumers will buy? Maybe, but until there is really good voice recognition it won't happen. <img src="graemlins/smokin.gif" border="0" alt="[Chilling]" />
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post #14 of 36
post #15 of 36
New battery technology like the iPod's make wearable computers a litle more reasonable.

The input is definitely a problem though.

There are a bunch of ways to make keyboards for one hand that you could stick on the side of the pocketMac. Then again it makes people learn a new way to type.

I wonder if you could make a viable voice recognition solution on modern hardware. Three years ago, computers fast enough to do it were too large and too expansive. Now, with an iBook's components and ViaVoice...
post #16 of 36
Only one way to input that would be more intuitive than voice and more ubiquitous than keyboards:

Brainwaves.

Although I imagine that this type of interface would give the term Freudian Slip a whole new world of meaning...
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post #17 of 36
Yes the military hardware leaves a great deal to be desired as far as weight goes, but the operating software is the most important part of the system and what could be moved to the commercial sector. Will we get a look at this software soon - considering the importance of this project to the military, probably not.

Considering the advent of wireless technology and the web, not all of the system needs to be carried by the wearer. The prime operating system and voice recognition would have to be local and part of the system, but almost all other software and hardware could be remote. This lightens the load on the local hardware and lets the developer optimize the hardware and software for voice recognition and wireless communiction.

Both secure wireless communication and software have a ways to go before a really practicle wearable computer solution will be available. This includes a realistic spoken interaction with the computer on all levels and the advent of secure satallite wireless communication. The hardware is available to build the wearable part of the wearable computer today. With the advent of low power 64bit CPUs and fast bus and ram, it would take a manufacturer little time to put togeather a very practicle device. It just takes the operating system and practicle voice recognition software to truly make it practicle.
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post #18 of 36
post #19 of 36
I don't think wearable computing will ever take off because "pervasive" computing will beat it to the punch.

Things such as Airport and Bluetooth are a start.

But imaging an Earth-wide wireless network where you *always* have access to you stizzuff, nomatter what device you're using, be it your car, your desktop computer or your glasses with stereo speakers and voice-driven menuing.

Checking whether or not you have milk at home would be as easy as "Do I have milk?"

Your fridge would answer you: "You have enough for tonight, and I have ordered more, but it won't be in untill tomorrow afternoon."

This is, of course, while you're walking back to work from lunch.

You're talking to the air.
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post #20 of 36
post #21 of 36
Just as consumers are slaves to beepers,cellular
phones, etc..They will have wearable computers.
In less than five years Intels CPU will be around 11 GHz and
Motorola will be at around 20 GHz.They will be faster by then but just for discussion purposes.
Twelve years ago AT&T had an Optical Chip.These
future machines will use Gallium Arsenide.Right now in a NJ plant it is being produced 24 hrs a day.13 years ago they had studies of machines
connected to the head and through brain waves you could move the cursor on the screen.So, a cap with
connectors to your head and goggles all interfaced
to your on-board computer.All powered by a hydrogen battery.Also interesting to note is that
an executive from GenenTech is now at Apple Computer.In the 1960's there were experiments
where simple plants were used as storage devices.
I congratulate all posters.As I have enjoyed myself so much.If I was Steve Jobs I would give
you all $150.00 off minimum.For all the free public relations you have all done an excellent job.We have all been enticed and provoked.We are
Apple Computers Base line customers.We are hard core.We don't give up.Without our word of mouth...
I commend you all.Now if we only had one of our own who could do remote viewing.We could get a better perspective of what is in Apples Laboratory.
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
<a href="http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/publicfeature/oct00/wear01.jpg" target="_blank">Image of person wearing multiple wearble units.</a>

Apple, please start another revolution!

Let 2002 not be like 2002.

[ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: Codename ]</p>
post #23 of 36
If that picture is any indication, the revolution has a ways to go yet.

Is anyone else imagining some idiot driving with that thing stuck to his face? And we thought cell phones were bad...
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post #24 of 36
Thread Starter 
About the wires...

One word: Bluetooth

As for display units...

I think Tekgear's M2 is ideal. It offers 800x600 resolution for under $5000.

<a href="http://www.tekgear.ca/graphics/images/M2.jpg" target="_blank">TekGear's M2 unit.</a>
<a href="http://www.tekgear.ca/graphics/images/svgapanel.jpg" target="_blank">LCD of TekGear M2</a>

BTW, there are new less unwieldy heads-up display units, such as this MicroOptical model EG-7.

It projects the image onto the glass, and costs under $3000.

<a href="http://www.microopticalcorp.com/Images/eg7bthumb.jpg" target="_blank">Microvision's EG-7</a>

[ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: Codename ]</p>
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
Xybernuat would be Apple's only major competitor for wearable computers.

Their top-of-the-line MA V's specifications can be found at the link below.

<a href="http://www.xybernaut.com/newxybernaut/Solutions/product/ma_v_tech.htm" target="_blank">http://www.xybernaut.com/newxybernaut/Solutions/product/ma_v_tech.htm</a>

[ 12-15-2001: Message edited by: Codename ]</p>
post #26 of 36
post #27 of 36
iGlasses or the like are the only way to make this idea workable.


Without neural jazck technology\\, of course.
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
Perhaps something less <a href="http://aeinnovations.com/content.php?menu=906&page_id=29" target="_blank">conspicuous?</a>
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
Rip out an iBook 600's internals.
Place motherboard w/CPU in a 5"x6"x2" w/30GB 2.5" HD and lithium polymer battery (total weight ~3lbs)
Add Bluetooth capability and incorporate the <a href="http://www.handykey.com/" target="_blank">Twiddler 2 one-hand keyboard/mouse</a> with its own battery pack.
Use fibre-channel for heads-up display unit.

I estimate Apple could do all of this and make the total cost of each unit less than $10,000.

And of course, it would be revolutionary. Apple will truely set the world of wearables on fire as the first major computer maker to release one...

The world would never be the same (at least for me). It would be 1984 all over again.

BTW, personally, I'd get one of MicroVision's laser retina-projection displays, but at $15,000 a pop, they might not be suited for the mass market.

[ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: Codename ]</p>
post #30 of 36
post #31 of 36
Thread Starter 
Here's a picture of MicroVision's retinal scanning display. It's very pricey, but it provides a "augmented reality".

<a href="http://www.mvis.com/IMAGES/MISC/Nomad_1_162.jpg" target="_blank">Image of MicroVision's retinal scanner display.</a>
<a href="http://www.mvis.com/IMAGES/MISC/VRD_diagram2.jpg" target="_blank">How it works.</a>

[ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: Codename ]</p>
post #32 of 36
*bump*

[ 01-03-2002: Message edited by: Nostradamus ]</p>
post #33 of 36
Could you perhaps be referring to:


<a href="http://www.mvis.com/home.htm" target="_blank">http://www.mvis.com/home.htm</a>
"01.02.02: Microvision ships first Nomad Personal Display Systems; Unique head-worn display will improve workplace productivity and safety"



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post #34 of 36
OK, I've done a bit more ruminating, and have come up with this:

1) The iPod is the first of several "mobile digital experience" devices.
2) Apple has recently announced MPEG4 for high-compression video streaming.
3) Apple also has a new high-compression video format (I forget its name now) allowing large amounts of video storage in a few GB.
4) Codename/Nostradamus has been pushing us in the direction of "wearable computers" and MPEG4 related new hardware.
5) Steve is obsessed with DVD burning.
6) Apple has a new connectivity standard called "Gigawire".

If I put these together, I get:

A "Walkman"-like video player: it has a large HD like the iPod's (maybe 10 or 20 GB - availability?), capable of storing several hours' worth of video. The "Gigawire" port connects to the iMac/Towers for lightning fast downloads of videos, from DVDs or other sources. The unit itself clips on your belt, and this "Nomad" helmet (or something similar) lets you view the movies while walking/jogging/lawnmowing/driving <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" /> /whatever.

Am I anywhere close?

[edit: typo]

[ 01-03-2002: Message edited by: TJM ]</p>
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post #35 of 36
while such a device *could* be cool, a couple of thoughts:

- wearable computing...just for movies? this seems like shooting pretty low

- with high compression video, why a new device? If you can compress it down to a few gigs, apple's already got the iPods in production

- you can't even take screenshots of DVDs currently (least not with Grab). Steve's focus is on iMovie's, no way I'm gonna be able to rip a DVD to some device.

I like the idea of wearable computing, and as much as I'd *love* apple to bring this primetime, I'm a little hazy as to the current mass appeal/usefulness... :confused:

rr.
post #36 of 36
I could see it with a DVD drive instead of the HD.

One problem, however, is that upon further investigation, this "Nomad" device is monochrome - bright red only. I shudder to think the cost of a full-color video helmet...

So, maybe I'm chasing my tail on this one. :o
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