May 28, 2009

Wearable what?

So,  a wearable computer, have you ever heard of those? Probably not. I mentioned those in my last post and there's still not a group for them, or anyone other mentioning them  besides me and those old TLDP-pages.

 So, Steve Mann "Invented" the modern wearable computers. I'm not talking about intelligent clothes, pdas or silly wrist-worn computers one would not catch me in public with alive. I'm talking about a small computer that is preferably running some flavour of Linux, that is always with you and always ready for input and augments, that is empowers your mind in some way.

 That's part of Mann's definition of the wearable, and I actually like it.

 When you walk around with your wearable, you shouldn't look like a geek. At least I'd like not having a backpack full of pc hardware and a helmet with a screen, however this (the right one) is something I could wear. Figuratively speaking only, because I'm not going to stuff my boards into my underwear like he did.

 So, Like I said last in my last post, I'm going to build a wearable for myself and I'm already planning it.

I'm most definitely going with a BeagleBoard as my cpu, some hacks with kopin vga microdisplay as my covert sunglasses display. I still need to decide my chorder because there is no twiddlers anymore, research how to use batteries and how to connect that displaythingy in a vga port.

I'm going for a INX like menu based user interface, mostly because I think there is no better solution for vga resolution and the wearable experience is better if there is no need for the mouse at all. It could be different if I was going for some augmented reality, but babysteps for now. Also I think it would be better for me to simplify my computer usage so I want to switch to command line for most things and only use X for stuff like Gimp and Blender.

And really, the wearable computer is a real thing, it can give you nightvision, invisible post-it notes in your office, you can have dictionaries and wikipedia always with you, code everywhere, maps and gps, to-do lists and notes, plan your interior in 3d in real life, play Quake in corridors with friends... Just see what youtube finds with "augmented reality". It's a sad thing they never took off, probably because of good displays being pricey, but it's still possible for them I think.