January 18, 2006

Light Weight Eye Tracking Wearable


I love pictures of wearable computers, and girls always make these things look less geeky. This is a system designed to track eye movement. Not sure why that's important beyond doing usability testing or marketing focus groups, but it's certainly nice to see people hacking this stuff together.

Jason S. Babcock and Jeff B. Pelz put together this paper on building a simple, lightweight eyetracker (PDF) to foster the creation of open source eyetracking software. All of the components are mounted to a cheap pair of safety glasses. The eyetracker uses a technique called “dark-pupil” illumination. An IR LED is used to illuminate the eye. The pupil appears as a dark spot because it doesn’t reflect the light. A bright spot also appears on the cornea where the IR is directly reflected. An eye camera is mounted next to the IR LED to record the image of eye with these two spots. Software tracks the difference between the two spots to determine the eye orientation. A laser mounted to the frame helps with the initial calibration process. A scene camera placed above the eye records what the eye is viewing. The video from these two cameras can be compared in real time or after the experiment is concluded. [Hack A Day]

[ PDF Link via hackaday ]

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January 13, 2006

Mine Safety Gear

With the tragedy at Sago Mine, the question of miner safety has become a major issue. To me, it's not just an issue of having ample rescue teams, but also of wearable computing. Some mines are using sensors throughout the mines, but why not go the next step and incorporate wearable computing to put sensors on the people themselves?
Some larger mine operations have atmospheric monitoring systems, with sensors placed throughout the mine to detect methane levels, smoke and carbon monoxide. All the information is fed into a computer on the surface, and dispatchers relay information about system failures to the teams below ground, said Mr. O'Dell.

I know wearable computing is expensive, and mines are not known for good wages, but it seems like they still lack simple communicative technologies, as ways for miners to communicate with the surface in the event of an emergency. Lets get these guys some technology folks!

[ Link via Google News. Image from NPR. ]

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December 22, 2005

Alert! You're going to die!


Damn those artists. Someone built this device that basically is designed to tell you when you're expected to die. I bet this would make a great christmas present.

finality (endlichkeit) shows the 'remaining' heart beat pulses of the wearer on a 16-sign LCD display, by comparing the actual age of the wearer with the average amount of heart beats of a 75 year person (which with 60 beats per minute totals to about 2.365.200.000 beats in a person's life)

Bah humbug. I'll take a regular heartbeat monitor over that any day.

[ Link via Davy Kreiger ]

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December 21, 2005

Army's Cooling Vests


The Army has developed some cooling vests to deal with a side effect of adding armor to their Humvee's. Sounds a bit like this other thing we blogged about here on igargoyle, but a little less portable, and less marshmello like.

The vests are worn under body armor and a hose from each vest is plugged into the Humvee’s on-board air-conditioning system. Liquid from the vehicle’s AC system circulates through the vest, cooling its wearer.

Some of the same engineers had designed the add-on armor kits for the M-998 and M-1025 Humvees in theater. But with the extra armor and doors closed, temperatures inside the vehicles could reportedly reach more than 130 degrees.

“It’s like putting somebody in a toaster oven on low heat,” said Charlie Bussee, an engineer at TARDEC.

[ Link via ./ ]

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December 19, 2005

Kenpo iPod Jacket


Recently I received a Kenpo iPod Jacket to try out for igargoyle. It's a slick jacket that uses fabric sensors from elektex in the left hand sleeve to control an iPod. The wiring for the controllers is the fabric, which is really cool and is also totally washable. The jacket is very comfortable and works really well, and it's great to finally own a bit of wearable technology.

When I got the jacket, I went down to the Apple store with my girlfriend to try it out with one of their iPods. I talked to the Apple guys and gals, and they were pretty impressed with the jacket. The controls are almost completely hidden, so I had to point it out to them. They had heard of the Burton jacket, but not the Kenpo, but were pretty impressed by the fact that the controls on the sleeve didn't feel any different from the rest of the jacket. I ended up buying an iPod at the urging of my girlfriend, and took it home to try out.


Connecting the iPod is easy, and fits nicely in the front left of the jacket.

Once I had my iPod set up, I hooked it up to the jacket, which was pretty straight forward. The iPod went in a pocket inside of the jacket, and connected to a small device to assist the controller. The controls themselves allow you to raise or lower the volume, go forward or backward with the tracks, and pause the device. My first thought was that this was a neat idea, but wouldn't work well because there wasn't a hold button, but apparently the jacket locks after seven seconds of inactivity, and you can unlock it by holding the track forward button for three seconds.


The controls are almost impossible to see, but they're there. I'd prefer that they'd be more visible using glow in the dark paint for the night time.

At first the controls didn't work well for me, so I emailed Kenpo, and they sent me a new jacket, which worked really well. You don't have to press on the buttons too hard, and it's really great being able to mess with the iPod without pulling it out of the jacket.

I really like wearing the jacket, and will be a bit disappointed when it starts getting warmer, because this thing doesn't have any ventilation. I imagine it would be best for people in New York or San Francisco, as it keeps you pretty toasty.

This jacket, and others like it, are clearly paving the way for wearable computing, and defining new trends in fashion. It also has the potential to be an interface for other devices with a bit of soldering, as there's no reason why the play button couldn't be reused to take a picture, or to act as a simple way to control a video iPod using a head mounted device.

I basically recommend getting this if you have an iPod, and like the style. It's going for $275 USD, and can be purchased at some Macy's, Dillard's, and Comp-USA stores, or by visiting their online store. Everyone I've shown it to has been impressed, and with new flexible displays hitting the market, I don't think it will be long unitl there's a jacket that has both controls and tells you what track or playlist you're on.

[ Link via Keith / m80im ]

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December 14, 2005

Heartbeat Sports Bra


Numetrex has released a great device for female runners, a sports bra that monitors your heartbeat. The fabric is made by Textronics, and is similar to Lycra. With the transmitter and watch, it retails for $115, and can be bought off their website.

Another similar company, Eleksen, is producing fabric that can transmit electricity without wires. I'm going to be reviewing an iPod jacket from them next week here on igargoyle.

[ Link via cnet ]

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Memory Glasses

Memory Glasses, and augmented memory is one reason I love the idea of wearable computing. My memory is horrible, and when it comes to meeting many people, sometimes I just can't remember a person's name. MIT has been working on their augmented memory project, Memory Glasses. They're like a PDA, except proactive in the sense that they try to pick out things they recognize, and give a cue of metadata about the person or thing. One of my old friends used to improve his social network by writing down every one's names and a sentence about them in an excel spreadsheet, so he would have something to say immediately when they called. This project is like that, but on steroids.

Memory Glasses function like a personal digital assistant; plus, they factor in the user's location at all times. The specs create a profile of the wearer and drop situation-appropriate hints when needed, such as what to pick up at the grocery store or someone's name upon a second meeting.

Instead of whispering hints in the wearer's ear, the glasses run software that flashes subliminal hints on a small screen within the lenses. After entering background information into the glasses' mini-computer, wearers often won't even be aware of the glasses jogging their memories.

MIT even is working on doing subliminal cues, so that the messages "fall below the threshold of conscious perception", which aparently is good for recalling that information later without a cue ("an improvment of about 1.5 compared to the uncued control").

[ Link via usa today ]

Edward Keyes reports that this project has been dorment for the past year or two (see comments). I'd heard about this project before, but I saw it on usatoday and wanted to say something about it. Does anyone know of anyone else doing research in aumented memory?

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December 08, 2005

AwareCuffs - Wearable WiFi Sensing


AwareCuffs are a geek invention that has a serious amount of style behind it. The cuffs give feedback to the wearer regarding WiFi signals in the vicinity.

AwareCuffs inform the wearer about wireless hotspots in the near sourrounding. If a person wants to check if wireless LAN is available, she usually has to boot a laptop or use a Wifi-finder, which in some situations is not appropriate. Instead the wearer of AwareCuffs simply glances on the cuffs. Small light patterns that appear on the cloth indicate if wireless LAN is available and the quality of service.

Fashion that reacts to one's suroundings, be it based on movement, location, noise, or other signals, seem to be an ever growing trend, especially as SIGGRAPH's CyberFashion Show gains influence and wearable computing becomes more commonplace.

[ Link via del ]

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Fire Fighting with the I-Garment

project_objective_image_1_160111.jpg project_objective_image_2_160.jpg

This suit based wearable computer called the i-garment, is designed to assist fire fighters in the Portuguese Civil Protection. It's similar to the military suit we mentioned before here on igargoyle, except that it's aimed at detecting vital signs like heartbeat and temperature, and goes one step further by monitoring the location of the wearer. I'm curious exactly how the positioning works, since GPS technology is usually fuzzy to about fifteen feet.

[ Link via we-make-money-not-art ]

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December 02, 2005

Snowboarder Glove iPod Controller


This is a sweet looking iPod controller that is embedded in snowboarder gloves and works like a joystick. Looks like the company that partnered with O'Neil to make the wearable controller, fibretronic, is also offering their joystick knob for other products.

Dubbed the 'Fat Controller' by O'Neill, the joystick has been designed by Fibretronic to wirelessly operate an iPod player by connecting to an RF transmitter located in the cuff of the glove. The joystick is sewn into the glove on the back of the hand and the five functions (play, rewind, fast forward, volume up, volume down) can be toggled by moving the soft rubber stick. The signals from the joystick are then sent wirelessly from the transmitter in the glove to a receiver unit that plugs into the iPod player.

The joystick is suitable for incorporation into a broad range of textile or soft products and it will be seen in other ground-breaking garments and accessories next year. It offers a compact solution for controlling any type of electronic device compared to the more conventional flat style keypad systems. The joystick control system can be supplied in both 'wired' and wireless formats.

The glove will be on sale for this christmas.

[ Link via del ]

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November 18, 2005

Wireless iPod Wrist Remote


This iPod wrist remote is another controller in the long line of wearable controllers that we've seen, and while the idea is great, I can't really say much for the design. I'm not sure if I'd wear one honestly.

That being said, the iPod is going to be marked as the first major wearable computing device alongside the cellphone, and I really want to see more come out of this. Maybe the next major iPod accessory could be an HMD for watching videos while in transit. May the floodgates open.

[ Link via del / gizmodo ]

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November 08, 2005

Wearable Translation


Last month, Carnegie Mellon University and German scientists unveilled a new babelfish like invention using wearable computing and electrodes which translateds mouthed words into other languages, effectively becoming a personal translator. In addition, using a head mounted display (see above), they are able to translate audio around the wearer into their native tounge on their goggles. This collaborative effort between the CMU campus in Oakland and at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany is called interACT and while imperfect, is making huge leaps in breaking down linguistic barriers.

CMU computer science graduate student Stan Jou, 34, of Shadyside, stood before the audience yesterday morning with 11 tiny electrodes affixed to the muscles of his cheeks, neck and throat.

The Taiwan native then mouthed -- without speaking aloud -- the following phrase in Mandarin Chinese: "Let me introduce our new prototype."

The sensors captured electrical signals from Jou's facial muscles when they moved to form the silent Chinese words. In a matter of seconds, this information traveled to a computer that recognized the words and translated them into English and Spanish. The phrase was then displayed on a screen and spoken by the computer in both languages.

This is the kind of tech that is truely delicious and empowers people everywhere, even if it isn't perfect... yet.

[ Link via ]

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VoiceUbique: Discrete Audio Information


VoiceUbique wants to provide discrete audio information for a variety of situations like audio guides for art tours, quiet television viewing at home, and mobile terminal access in noisy areas like on the train. They plan to do this with wireless headsets that pick up data over over an infrared chanel.

One of the things they're offering, at least optionally is RFID personalization. That is, if they know who you are by use of an RFID tag, they might say something custom to you. Wow, this sounds a lot like minority report, even if you can pull out the headphone from your year.

I can see this product as being helpful, but far from being something I'd invest in due to consumer adoption. I just don't think this would take off beyond nitch markets like museums, where they would be willing to rent out the headphones individually for self-guided audio tours.

[ Link via del ]

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November 07, 2005

Ubiquitous Fashionable Computer


KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) has made this "Ubiquitous Fashionable Computer". I don't think they know what fashionable means, but it sounds like some they have some interesting functionality associated with it:

The wearable PC features an augmented reality HMD (640 x 480 pixel), wrist keyboard and a VR glove. One highlight is the data exchange capability with a throwing gesture, much like how one would throw a baseball. And get this - you can throw somebody wearing a UFC an MP3 file and it is transferred wirelessly to that user, it can also transmit other general data like video clips or word document files.

[ Link via google news ]

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Lumiloop Wearable LED Display


Lumiloop is this neat wearable LED display that has a series of modules that can be chained together to make a reactive bracelet. Each has an 8x8 LED matrix, and is driven dynamically by interchangable program modules.

I asked my brother about this, and here's what he had to say:

These are really cool, especially since they have accelerometers in them to detect gestures! I get to start playing with accelerometers myself.

My brother is working on his senior project, and is going to be using accelerometers to help control a motor to aim a laser to do underwater imagery. I can't wait to blog about his stuff on here!

[ Link via del ]

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November 03, 2005

Wearable Computing Meets BW Photography


This is a pretty gorgeous BW photo of a woman wearing a wearable computer. Hopefully more people will take to preserving this era so elegantly.

[ Link ]

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November 02, 2005

Burton Audex Jacket


This jacket from burton and motorola uses bluetooth to give easy access to your cellphone and iPod.

Bluetooth wireless technology in the jacket allows you to link up to your Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone and cruise and converse with ease. Use the control panel on the left sleeve to take or make calls and switch songs on your iPod without removing them from your pockets. There's even a mini caller ID screen. A removable control panel, detachable hood speakers and microphone complete this super tech getup and make it easy to clean your jacket.

Personally, I'd like to see Apple develop one of these since their trademark controls are far superior to anything else I've seen, and I think they probably could design some kick ass jackets as well.

[ Link via del ]

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October 31, 2005

Wearable Computing Market

You probably knew that the market for wearable computing is growing, but here's some real research to back it up.

The global market for wearable computing and communications systems is expected to reach $270 million by 2007, according to a recent study published by VDC. Sales in this relatively small market are expected to grow more than 25 percent annually, based largely on the sales of customized solutions to two core market segments: warehousing and transportation. Smart fabrics and see-through wearable displays are on the horizon. Wearable systems spending is highly concentrated in warehouse and transportation/distribution market segments. Wearable devices allow users to keep their hands free for other activities during operation, which creates a compelling ROI in picking and placing, inventory tracking, and cross-docking applications that are core to these markets.

[ Link via Google News ]

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October 26, 2005

Geospatial Vibrating Belt


This geospatial vibrating belt called FeelSpace seems pretty interesting, and has a lot of potential to help aid the blind potentially. It currently is designed to "point" to north all the time, but with a bit of sonar, I'm sure it would be a lot better.

This belt is equipped with a set of vibrators controlled by an electronic compass: the element pointing north is always slightly vibrating. That way, the person wearing the belt gets permanent input about his heading relative to the earth's magnetic field.

[ Link via del ]

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October 25, 2005

Wearable Barcode Scanner

Socket Communications announced today that they are entering wearable computing with a wearable barcode scanner that goes on your index finger and uses bluetooth. One can only assume that a device like this will need another unit on a person to recieve the data like a bluetooth enabled PDA or full fledged wearable computer.

"Socket is committed to delivering products to help companies improve the productivity and profitability of their operations," said Peter Phillips, vice president of marketing at Socket Communications. "Socket continues to expand our family of data collection and connectivity products in response to customer demands. This lightweight and extremely durable new offering will enable customers to collect bar coded data hands free without being tied to a mobile or desktop computer."

I can certainly see the potential of this wearable barcode scanner for business use, such as clerks in supermarkets, or for doing warehouse inventory. Limited production of this product will be done in the last quarter of this year, and full production will begin beginning next year.

[ Link ]

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October 24, 2005

Digital Picture Key Chain


Tao has released a Digital Picture Key Chain, which is designed for those who have short lasting loved ones, or ever changing significant loved ones. Even better, it can hold 56 images, which can be used for those who have multiple significant others, and wish to seem devoted to each.

Personally, as much as I like high tech, I'd only really like this product if it was animated or did something other than show static photos.

Common, innovate people!

[ Link via del ]

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October 22, 2005

Wearables For Health

Businessweek.com did a report on health monitors recently, which many would like to be a ubiquitous part of their lives. These devices are becoming more and more portable, from arm bands, to fabric embedded electronics.

Fabric-embedded electronics are no longer science fiction and the health industry in particular seem keen to develop its potential, perhaps because 'gear' is already an integral part of it.

A product that now is taking off is a "stress band", which is worn on the arm and collects data on the wearer's physical state. Until recently, the band was a research tool used to measure the stress in drivers but now, the Fitness Group Apex are promoting the band for consumers as a weight-loss monitoring tool.

Similarly, a shirt developed some years ago by VivoMetrics - which collects and analyzes its wearer's respiration flow, heart rate, and other key metrics - is already used in top medical schools and drug companies. The garment, which collects and analyzes its wearer's respiration flow, heart rate, and other key metrics, can allow researchers to see in real time whether a new treatment is working.

This article also gets into the real guts of smart fabrics with this paragraph about developments over the last two years:

DuPont created new fibers called Aracon, made of Kevlar, that are superstrong, can conduct electricity, and can be woven into ordinary-looking clothes. And chipmaker Infineon developed chip packaging allowing wearable computers to be washed, even in the heavy-duty cycle.

Now that's some tech I'd like to get into!

[ Link via Guerrilla-Innovation ]

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Smart Fabric Talk in Quebec

The reality of smart fabrics and nanotechnology as a part of electronic clothing and wearable computing will be discussed by assistant professor, Joanna Berzowska at Concordia University in
Montreal, Québec on November 25th. She received her Masters of Science from MIT for her work titled Computational Expressionism. She also built a color changing fabric called "electronic plaid".

In this talk, I will outline the field of wearable technology: research directions, commercial applications and artistic practice. I will also discuss my research in one particular area of this large space: visually animated textiles that enable a SOFT reactive addressable display. I will show E-Ink prototypes, "Electronic Plaid" prototypes developed at International Fashion Machines and several simple experiments in "soft electronics" for wearables. Conductive yarns and fabrics, thermochromic inks and flexible sensors allow the construction of soft electronic garments. The goal is to achieve the seamless integration of technology into the tradition of textile and fashion design.

[ Link via del ]

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October 20, 2005

Uber Badge: Wearable Badge for Social Interactions

The Media Lab at MIT is improving on previous wearable badges with the UbER-Badge, which uses infrared and RF to create connections between people and systems. Some of their aims are to do viral message passing like "Memes don't exist, tell your friends", location tracking by displaying on nehibor's badges the last time they saw that person, social networking, storing contacts for later retrieval, and more.

The Ubiquitous Experimental Research Badge (UbER-Badge) is a powerful platform for developing new applications in person-person and person-event interaction. This design takes a huge stride beyond the Media Lab’s previously successful badges (e.g., the Meme Tag (1998) and Thinking Tags (1997)). It is highly evolved in both its technological power and its aesthetics.

This Badge is a general computing platform for experimentation with distributed systems and the analysis and enhancment of group social interaction. Although The Badge will be used in crowds of circa 200 people during Media Lab events, it is designed to be open and expandable for future research use, able to encompass essentially any crowd size and a host of possible applications.

All their software is open source, and looks pretty neat. I saw some of MIT's earlier badge/wearable computing work at ACM1, and it was pretty cool. Not very usable by a mass market, but still very promising.

[ Link via del ]

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October 19, 2005

Wearable Vehicles?

Toyota car designer Hideo Miwa, who recently unveilled the i-swing concept car, which looks like a big chair on wheels, says that he sees a future in wearable vehicles, and I assume he's not talking about rocket powered roller-skates.

It can travel on three or two wheels, and its body is made of polyurethane and covered in fabric — to soften the impact if it bumps into people, Toyota says.


The i-swing — a “concept car” with no plans for commercial sales — is an upgrade of earlier concept cars designed to help with what Toyota calls “personal mobility,” meant to blend in with pedestrians on the streets.

That’s why the automaker chose soft material for the i-swing’s body, and the ultimate goal would be to make a wearable vehicle, Miwa said.

I would love to hear more about his vision. Obviously cars are heavy, but also offer protection on the road when going high speeds. What does this designer have in mind?

[ Link ]

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October 18, 2005

Wearable WiFi Server


This project is a wearable computer with a WiFi node that attempts to provide services specific to that one node instead of becomming a bridge to the internet at large.

The WiFi.Bedouin consists of a small backpack containing an adapted 802.11b access point, RF amplifier, custom power supply and a PowerBook G4 running custom software, MovableType Blog software, a custom chat application, Apache 2.0, the Tomcat Java Servlet Container, and WiJacker - a custom built application that translates arbitrary named URLs to local services. A PocketPC PDA - the iPAQ 2200 - is mounted to the front of the WiFi.Bedouin pack, and is configured with its own 802.11 card. The PDA is used as a visual display for a custom GPS mapping application (mStory), for node WiFi activity, and for simple configuration.

The services it's aiming to deploy to the people around it are a Web Server, Chat Server, Shared Blog, and Streaming iTunes Music. In addition he indends to hijack any requests to any non-local websites to his own.

[ Link via del ]

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Wearable Controller for the iPod

Well, you've probably heard about jackets with embedded controls for MP3 players, but this controller from Eleksen seems a lot more practical in my opinion because it's not tied down to any piece of clothing.

It's bluetooth equipped, and has a fabric controls, as well as a microphone, and as an added bonus, you can answer phone calls with it if you have a bluetooth equipped phone.

[ Link via del ]

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October 15, 2005

Liteye in Iraq


Found this picture of an Liteye 450 on a soldier in Iraq. I really wish I could find more pictures of civilans though, but wearable computing aint cheap.

[ Link ]

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October 04, 2005

Chick Magnet


Well at least they have a sense of humor...

The wearable system is called the Tinmith Endeavour backpack, more affectionately called "the chick magnet" by the research team.

Dr Thomas concedes much work needs to be done to reduce the size and improve the usability of the unit.

[ Link ]

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September 29, 2005

Power Conversion Fabric


Two companies are joining up to build "Power Conversion Fabric", textitles that can generate power like solar cells.

Konarka Technologies, Inc., an innovator in developing and commercializing Power Plastic‘ that converts light to energy, and Textronics, Inc., a pioneer in the field of electronic textiles, today announced a joint development program to create prototype garments and fashion accessories with portable, wearable power-generation capabilities. The technology will utilize Konarka’s light-activated Power Plastic‘ and Textronics’ electronic textile systems to provide renewable, wearable energy sources for personal electronic devices.

[ Link to press release. Found via article posted to the wear-hard mailing list ]

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September 28, 2005

Wearable Computers for Disaster Relief

The University of South Australia are developing wearable computers with augemented vision for disaster relief, like that of the recent hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida.


Flooding in New Orleans

"If particular experts aren’t available in the disaster area, they can direct field staff from the control center. For example, suppose a chemical plant is required to be shut down, an expert in the control center can view the situation via the field operative’s wearable technology, and give directions to the field staff on how to close the plant, even circling which lever to operate in the field operative’s view through the goggles," Thomas said.

The project consists of three components: the indoor visualization control room, the outdoor wearable AR system, and collaboration between the indoor and outdoor systems.

They claim that there is nothing else on the market that is comparable, and the only similar projects are the University of Columbia's "MARS" and the US Naval Research Lab's "BARS". Since I can't properly evaluate their work, I really don't understand why they believe their product is so radically different. In any case, they will be demoing it at SEARCC 2005, which is going on today, tomorrow, and Friday in Sydney, Australia.

[ Link ]

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September 15, 2005

Xbernaut About to Become Xyber-Not

Xybernaut looks like it's about to become no more. Sad news for some readers I expect. Hopefully a larger company like Apple will eventually start catering to this market.

Xybernaut Corporation (Pink Sheet: XYBR.PK) announced that Company management met this week with and outlined several options to the newly formed Equity Committee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The options generally involve plans for the reorganization of the Company and/or the orderly marketing of its intellectual properties and other assets. It is the overarching objective of both the Company and the Equity Committee to provide as much value as possible to the Company's shareholders. Together, the Company and the Equity Committee intend to chart a course in furtherance of their shared goals. There can be no assurance, however, that any of these options or the Company's restructuring efforts will be successful.

Brian wrote on the wear-hard mailing list:

Honestly I think their problems started when they couldn't get the price down nor the marketing to make wearables and began trying to compete in the tablet arena instead.

If they had stuck with making a real, feasable (affordable, usable) wearable system they could have cornered the (tiny) market and survived.

THEN the management problems came up.

Things certainly look tough, but maybe it's time for Xybernaut to pass the tourch to some other, more innovative company.

[ Link via the wear-hard mailing list ]

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December 08, 2004

Consumer Wearable Computing Shoes


'VectraSense Technologies, an MIT spin-off company, has developed a computerized shoe product �Verb for Shoe� that provides computerized shoe adjustments according to your movements...

The cost of the basic shoe is $499.99, and fully loaded with all the options, the cost would be $1000.'

Their site makes it seem like a joke, using excessive flash, but MIT has been known for their 'power-full shoes' and 'business card sharing shoes', so going to market with such a device does sound plausable.

["Verb for Shoe" via Near Near Future]

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December 05, 2004

Wearable Computer Defined

What is a wearable computer?

'A wearable computer is a computer that is subsumed into the personal space of the user, controlled by the user, and has both operational and interactional constancy, i.e. is always on and always accessible. Most notably, it is a device that is always with the user, and into which the user can always enter commands and execute a set of such entered commands, and in which the user can do so while walking around or doing other activities. The most salient aspect of computers, in general, (whether wearable or not) is their {\em reconfigurability} and their {\em generality}, e.g. that their function can be made to vary widely, depending on the instructions provided for program execution. With the wearable computer (WearComp), this is no exception, e.g. the wearable computer is more than just a wristwatch or regular eyeglasses: it has the full functionality of a computer system but in addition to being a fully featured computer, it is also inextricably intertwined with the wearer. This is what sets the wearable computer apart from other wearable devices such as wristwatches, regular eyeglasses, wearable radios, etc.. Unlike these other wearable devices that are not programmable (reconfigurable), the wearable computer is as reconfigurable as the familiar desktop or mainframe computer. Wearable computing will now be formally defined in terms of its three basic modes of operation and its six fundamental attributes.' [Steve Mann]

[From Definition of "Wearable Computer". Picture of Mann-Cyborg and Daughter.]

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