What is a “wearable computer” A small portable computer that is designed to be worn on the body during use. Wearable computers are usually either integrated into the users clothing or can be attached to the body through some other means, like a wristband
Aim Of Wearable Computing It should be able to adapt to the whims and fancies of the user instead of the user having to adapt its lifestyle for the system. It should not interfere with user‟s everyday tasks. The two key features of wearable computers should be „always on capability‟ and „continual accessibility‟.
Components of wearable computers Human interface system (HUMIONICS). Networks. Display systems.
HUMIONICS The user interface for a wearable computer is fundamentally different to those of the regular computers . It should satisfy the following criteria:Shall be constantly available to the user – always on, ready and accessible.Shall not require constant user attention.Shall be unobtrusive and unrestrictive.
Continued………Always communicate with user with reasonable timelimits.Shall be able to communicate with the user and theoutside world.Provide the best use of 3D object space to scatter theapplication windows.
Some new concepts……… Wearable computing introduces new concepts like “mediated reality” and “augmented reality”.Mediated reality refers to encapsulation of user’s senses by incorporating the computer with the users perceptive mechanisms.Augmented reality combines real world scenes and virtual scenes, augmenting the real world with additional information.
NETWORKSThere can be two kinds of networks: One way to connect the device to the external world is through WAP, or Cellular Digital packet data. This aspect is not specific and will evolve over time. The second issue of interconnecting the various parts of the WC, may involve both wired and wireless connections. CPU, storage unit and similar peripherals will be connected with or without cables to the wearable motherboard.
Input DevicesThere can be in general four common kinds of inputs for the wearable system:Speech recognition which may appear as the most suited input device, but is not preferred in all kinds of applications & environments, due to privacy and performance issues.
Handwriting and keyboard could be one of the most efficient input device, provided the input device is not too small.The picture shown is called as the sense board which is just worn on the hands or wrists and senses the typing input or handwriting.
Gesture input devices are simple, compact, and optimized for wearable use. Ubi-Finger is such a device, but has not been tested for all types of applications.Thumb Typing - Carsten Mehring, a mechanical engineer at the University of California, Irvine, has come up with a device that turns your hands into a keyboard.
Output Devices Could be either HMD with earpiece or only the earpiece for some applications. There are two types of HMD:The 1st one is generally intended for regular or industrial use.The 2nd type is the blocking type and requires full attention of the user.
ADVANTAGES Enhanced communication. It can be used to recognize a person in a high alerted area such as airport. Unlikely to be dropped or lost as they are embedded to the clothes as opposed to the handheld devices. Able to use for everyday tasks by tracking movements and habits of the person.
Work from anywhere. Convenience Makes tasks more easies such as these can be used by surgeons which allow data to be transferred to there computers. Freedom.
DISADVANTAGES Expensive Can cause irritation when it produces heat. Side effects such as headaches. It becomes easier to get data of an individual if it gets stolen.
Challenges and LimitationsSoftware Challenges: Development of the software for wearable computers is probably the most significant challenge faced by wearable system designers. The other software challenges include integration of information repositories that augment limited device capabilities.
Hardware ChallengesThe current limitations on hardware technologyinvolves four major problems- power, networking,privacy and interface .Adding more features to the wearable devicerequires more power and generates more heat. Thisimposes a restriction to design systems that takelittle power and little space and last a long time.
Continued…….The second limitation is with networking inwearable devices. We need to understand thatnetworking may never be truly ubiquitous;there will always be places where access to theInternet will not be simply be available.The inter-component communication using theon-body wireless bus is still an area ofresearch.
Privacy is not yet a limitation, but may be a limitation in future. One can record conversations, keep personal notes, schedule, and use diary on the wearable. The first part of the privacy is to protect ones own personal information and the second part is to prevent the wearable user from stealing others information.
The last problem is of interface. "How do we communicate with the computer and how does it communicate to us?". Which is the most effective way of communicating to the device and back to the human? The answer for these would only evolve along the time, and there may not be any perfect answer to this question.
APPLICATIONS1. Emergency Services2. Field Services3. Health Care4. Queue Busting5. Warehousing6. Shopping Jackets7. Medical Establishment.8. Mediated/Augmented reality
Designer Erik De Nijs has created a pair of jeans for computer geeks.“Built into the knees are a pair of speakers, around the back you have the added convenience of a back pocket for your mouse…”
FUTURE PROSPECTS Wearable Computers would dominate in the near future. We can class our mobile phone as a mobile computer as we can get phones that can be used take photos, surf the internet, msn messenger, mp3 player, video recorder, video playback, create documents, view documents, create games and many other things mobile phones are now more powerful than computers 10 years ago. This does not mean that the mobile phone itself will be a wearable computer in the future. It could also be used to track people this could work as a good and bad thing as if the police where tracking someone it could help but on the other hand if a stalker/murderer was tracking movements to find out when he can strike it could make it easier.