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Smart eyeglasses

My experiments in attaching computers, radio equipment, etc., to myself in a manner quite similar to that described by Bass[1], culminated, in a tetherless system that allowed me to roam about the city, remotely controlling devices (such as electronic flash lamps planted at various locations), staying in touch through email, and a host of other things that one would normally associate with a desktop computer powered from an AC outlet. For example, I currently wear my apparatus while shopping (e.g. so that my wife can remotely look through my eyes and inspect fruits and vegetables, then email me with comments). Attitudes toward various forms of the apparatus have significantly changed over the last fifteen years. In particular, I feel that it is now possible to wear the apparatus in many everyday situations where it would have been completely out of place just a few years ago (though it would certainly still be out of place in a gambling casino or opium den). Through a combination of changes in the apparatus (its having become a little less obtrusive, thanks to improvements in technology allowing for miniaturization), and a changes in society (increase in society's acceptance of technology), it is not nearly as strange as it was just a few years ago.

In early designs, the antennas were sewn into the clothing, as were many of the components, but the eyeglasses are the one entity that must diminish to make this apparatus be truly unobtrusive.

Although my original goal was to build a reality-mediating apparatus[2] that would function as an artist's tool, the apparatus became better known as the wearable wireless webcam, when, with the advent of the World Wide Web, I began, in 1994, exploring the use of my Web page as a means of sharing my day-to-day visual experiences with others [5]. This system was interesting in the sense that, after some time, I would forget that I was wearing it, and it would begin to function as an extension of my own body.

The ideal reality-mediating apparatus would be unobtrusive in two ways:

It is hoped that the apparatus could someday pass the `volleyball test' and the `roulette test'.

The use of wearable, tetherless computer--mediated reality for the handicapped has also been suggested[6]. The application to the handicapped suggests a form of the apparatus that will operate under the sustained use paradigm.

next up previous
Next: Smart shoes Up: Smart clothing Previous: ``Smart underwear''

Steve Mann
Wed Feb 14 23:28:15 EST 1996