In the 1951 film "The Man in the White Suit", "a man invents a fabric that won't get dirty or wear out, but he seems to have made more enemies than friends in the process" [imdb]. In the more modern sci-fi novel, "The Diamond Age", one of the characters uses a pair of white gloves that are self cleaning.
Following fiction, "..scientists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University coated cotton with nanoparticles of titanium dioxide. When subjected to ultraviolet light, the titanium dioxide produces an oxidizing agent that can break down dirt and other organic substances." [boingboing]
In addition, the scientists say "...after a few days in the sunshine, or even indoor light, the dirt [from our clothing] will disappear." Quite a leap from odor free socks or stain resistant pants.
Aparently, and really not that surprisingly, virtual reality can be used to help prevent pain. Similar to meditation, virtual landscapes can reduce the ammount of pain that the brain registers from 50 to 97 percent. Researcher Hunter Hoffman and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle believe that virtual reality can serve as an anesthetic. In additon, they have shown that virtual reality "dramatically changes how the brain physically registers pain, not just how people subjected to pain perceive incoming signals".
Maybe cyborgs like Steve Mann can use head mounted displays next time they get a root canal. I know from my friend, dragoon that dentists are already starting to use head mounted displays in their practice to alleviate boredom and small talk.
[Link via betterhumans]
This USB card is pretty important to wearable compters since so many of wearables these days are based on PocketPC. The SolarExpress PDA should be out next month. Not sure how much it will cost though.
Two new Pocket PCs have hit the market which look pretty tempting.
The first is the Toshiba e805, which sports a really nice 640x480 display (the first of it's kind). In addition, the e805 has a wireless card built in (like the newer iPaqs), 160MB RAM, and a 400MHz processor. The e805 is available now from Amazon for $559.99.
In the footsteps of the iQue, MiTAC announced the first Pocket PC (as opposed to a Palm PDA) with Built-in GPS. The unit, called the Mio 168, has 64MB of RAM and can do 300MHz. Unlike Tohiba's model, the Mio 168 has a regular sized 240 by 320 display. Pretty neat, but only available in Taiwan now, and China soon. No plans for the US.
Now why can't someone include a good display, GPS, and WiFi? Is this too much to ask?
I forget exactly what this does, but I like the idea of something riding there. Rich Gibson was interested in using his gumstix computer in a similar way, but I think it was underpowered for the kinds of things he wanted to do with it. Nevertheless, this is a good place for a camera or microphone, and with some design it could look really interesting.
Aparently wireless GPS units have hit the market. Sounds good, I just wish 802.11b and BlueTooth would play nicely, because I'm interested in this item.
One of the issues preventing the uptake of wearables and the creation of a gargoyle subculture is power: what good is a device that requires multiple expensive batteries just for a single day's use? Fuel cells promise an eventual solution, but reducing the cost and size will take years.
News of one potentional solution comes from yuichi's Kokoro blog in the shape of Smart Textile, a technology from Infineon Technologies that produces electricity from the temperature gradient between one's body temperature and air temperature.
The japanese article from ZDNet Japan describing Smart Textiles includes the picture to the right, which shows what is not going to be the future of wearable computing.
Efficient input devices for wearables are another issue. Another entry from Japan is this new one-handed keyboard and mouse based on cell phone design. Japanese youth are fairly adept with cellphone text entry, so this might actually meet a demand. Hopefully some sort of autocomplete will be provided. (Snarfed from Slashdot)