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Next: Definition of `WearComp'

An historical account of the `WearComp' and `WearCam' inventions developed for applications in `Personal Imaging'

Published in IEEE Proceedings of the first ISWC, October 13-14, 1997, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p66-73

Steve Mann,, N1NLF,
Tel. (416) 946-3387,Fax. (416) 971-2326
MIT E15-389, 20 Ames St., Cambridge MA02139;
Author currently with University of Toronto, Elec. Eng. Dept.gif


We are entering a pivotal era in which we will become inextricably intertwined with computational technology that will become part of our everyday lives in a much more immediate and intimate way than in the past. The recent explosion of interest in so-called ``wearable computers'' is indicative of this general trend. The purpose of this paper is to provide an historical account of my wearable computer effort, from the 1970s (WearComp0) to present (WearComp7), with emphasis on a particular variation whose origins were in imaging applications. This application, known as `personal imaging', originated as a computerized photographer's assistant which I developed for what many regarded as an obscure photographic technique. However, it later evolved into a more diverse apparatus and methodology, combining machine vision and computer graphics, in a wearable tetherless apparatus, useful in day-to-day living. Personal imaging, at the intersection of art, science, and technology, has given rise to a new outlook on photography, videography, augmented reality, and `mediated reality', as well as new theories of human perception and human-machine interaction. My current personal imaging apparatus, based on a camera and display built within an ordinary pair of sunglasses, together with a powerful multimedia computer built into ordinary clothing, points to a new possibility for the mass-market.

Steve Mann
Tue Jan 6 23:24:56 EST 1998