Magazine article The Futurist

Wearable Computers

Magazine article The Futurist

Wearable Computers

Article excerpt

It's the year 2005. A car runs a red light and crashes into another vehicle. One driver appears seriously injured.

An ambulance arrives. An emergency medic quickly checks the driver's vital signs and injuries with a hand-held "track ball" containing special sensors and a video camera. The vital signs are displayed in the medic's goggles, and the information is transmitted to the hospital. Meanwhile, the medic dictates comments on the driver's condition into a microphone attached to the medic's goggles; the data are matched against a medical encyclopedia on CD-ROM for possible diagnosis and treatment.

A newspaper reporter arrives and begins entering her story into the "lapbody computer" hanging from her shoulder. A shop owner nearby, who witnessed the accident, gives a statement to a police officer wearing a "portable office," which faxes the statement to police headquarters. The shop owner then resumes taking inventory, using an optical scanner worn on his forearm to read barcode information. The foregoing scenario features the wearable computers now under development at the NEC Corporation's Advanced PC Design Center in Tokyo. The goal is "personal environment design; that is, architecture or the human environment," says design supervisor Hideji Takemasa. …

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