Wearaware's Wearable Computer
I presented a wearable computing prototype based upon an Archos PMA-430 and a network I am starting for people who want to add wearable configurations to handheld electronics such as PDAs and recording devices. The PMA-430 combines the functionality of an embedded Linux computer with a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). A novel accessory converts the proprietary "Multi-Connect Jack" (MCJ) to a more modular, field-reconfigurable 1/10"-center socket. The prototype fits into a single pouch, but other modules are also being developed to be incorporated into vests, jackets, and other designs rather than utility belts. They include integrated active noise cancellation, a music/phone headset, biometric sensors, media switcher, and integrated status display.
Some applications include Glogging, Warwalking, and together, Moblogging. This means the ability to log notes, media, and leverage wireless access points for sharing them in a low-profile and low-power setup. All this can be walked around with while still having use of at least one hand available for manual tasks. While the analog A/V I/O capabilities are inherent to the PMA, this is the first project to make them all mobile. With its 30 GB HD, full
motion video, WiFi, and embedded Linux OS, the PMA has radical potential for [cyborg] Glogging. This is the first step towards accessing these and other functions in a more wearable, private way that protects the device from fumbles and helps to free a hand or two.
It is an experimental platform for communications, Glogging, memory augmentation, art, and teaching about Humanistic Intelligence (HI) and modular systems architecture. HI is a concept of Steve Mann's that helps me educate those who are afraid of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and feel that becoming a cyborg a priori diminishes humanity. It depends upon the system, and we are still in the homebrew stage of Wearable Computing. We can raise issues early before some monopoly releases devices that are easy-to-use because they dumb-down user-re-configurability. HI lets both the brain and computer do the types of processing each is best at, in a more
symbiotic arrangement. Like Professor Mann's, this project is amenable to education, experimentation, and activism.
I will present again at DorkBot Socal this summer, and look forward to working with people I’ve met online, at Dorkbot and neighbors for wearable computing designs with Archos models, HP clamshell organizers, Asus MyPal and Dell Axim X5xx PDAs.
[ Check out Wearaware's personal site at http://www.roboch.net, and keep a look out for more articles from him on igargoyle.com. He also has a site about his wearable here. You can contact him about his research at wearaware at yahoo dot com ]