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Wearing your heart on your sleeve: a wearable computing primer (of sorts)


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Presentation for the IxDA Taipei talk and workshop on August 11th, 2012

Wearing your heart on your sleeve: a wearable computing primer (of sorts)

  1. Wearing your heart on your sleeveAlejandro A wearable technology primer (of sorts)
  2. The contents of Steve Wozniak’s bag. Do we humans really need to carry this much stuff around? (photo by Gizmodo blog)
  3. I. Gambling
  4. Ed Thorp, Co-creator of the first Wearable computer in 1960.
  5. The first wearable computer was shoe worn and was devised to inconspicuously calculate the outcome of a casino roulette wheel.
  6. Close-up of the shoe computer.
  7. Post PC era?Yes, but...
  8. TheWeight of the past...Why does the present have to be labeled based on the technology that is dead or dying out?
  9. Computing ErasMainframe PC Post-PC 1960s 1980s (Mobile?)
  10. What will be next?What will come after the mobile era? it can’t be the “post-mobile” era!
  11. Place your bets...Wearable computing could be an important ingredient in the next wave of computing, and a logical next step for mobile devices.
  12. II. Landscapes
  13. How a desktop computer sees us...Diagram included in Physical Computing, the seminal Interaction design book by Dan O’Sullivan and Tom Igoe. (2004)
  14. How a smartphone sees us...
  15. How should a wearable computer see us?
  16. How our brains see usSomatosensory homunculous, first formulated by Wilder Penfield in the 1950s. This model shows what a mans body would look like if each part grew in proportion to thearea of the cortex of the brain concerned with its movement.
  17. Where are our boundaries?
  18. Personal Space Intimate Personal Social PublicIn his work on proxemics, Edward T. Hall separated his theory into two overarching categories: personal space and territory. Personal space describes theimmediate space surrounding a person, while territory refers to the area which a person may "lay claim to" and defend against others. Taken from
  19. What’s the largest organ in the human body?Image credit: Furryscale (license:CC BY-SA 2.0)
  20. Living Dynamic Rich Intimate Personal Surface SocialImage credit: Furryscale (license:CC BY-SA 2.0)
  21. Fluid surfacesEverything has a surface. Surfaces are usually changing, fluid, dynamic, adaptive.Image credit: lagohsep (license:CC BY-SA 2.0)
  22. InterfaceInterface: meaningful surface, or the space where 2 surfaces touch and exchange information.
  23. FabricFabrics are interesting in that they are almost nothing but surfaces in contact with our skin.Image credit: ecstaticist (license:CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
  24. SIXTH SENSE Sixth SenseMIT’s Sixth Sense projects takes a literal approach to the “every surface is a potential interface” concept.
  25. III. Daemons
  26. In Greek mythology, Daemons are invisible creatures that guide and help mortals, without intervening directly.
  27. EudaemonsThe Eudaemons were a group of UCSC students who created (another) gambling-oriented wearable computer in 1979.In his Nicomachean Ethics, (1095a15–22) Aristotle says that eudaimonia means ’doing and living well’. It is significant that synonyms for eudaimonia are living well and doing well. On the standardEnglish translation, this would be to say that ‘happiness is doing well and living well’. (Wikipedia)
  28. Steve MannThe father of wearable computing. Inventor, teacher and researcher. Full-time cyborg. further references:
  29. Eudaemonic computingInspired by the Eudaemons, Eudaemonic computing is about helping people lead better lives. (Computers as good spirits)
  30. 1980 mid 1980s early 1990s mid 1990s late 1990sEvolution of Steve Mann’s wearable computer
  31. A more recent version of Steve Mann’s wearable computer.
  32. Operational modesConstancyAlways on, always accessible
  33. Operational modes ConstancyLeft: Dome computer continuously records the wearer’s life. Right: Microsoft Research’s SenseCam is based on the same concept.
  34. Operational modesAugmentationAugment intelligence and senses
  35. Google’s project Glass is one of the most highly publicized examples of wearable computing with augmentation as a focus.
  36. “The Borgs” from MIT Media Lab were wearable computing pioneers during the 1990s. Some of them are now working on Google’s Project Glass.
  37. Operational modesMediationEncapsulate, filtrate, manage privacy
  38. The walkman is one of the first examples of mass-produced mediating wearable technology.
  39. Attributes Unmonopolizing Unrestrictive Observable Controllable AttentiveBasically, wearable computers shouldn’t get in the way. Wearer shouldn’t have to worry about the computing part at all.
  40. Self expressionWearable computing offers many opportunities for dynamic self expression (Image: LED jackets by Cute Circuit)
  41. PersonalWearable computers are the real Personal computers, as intimate and close to people as underwear!
  42. QuantifyComputers are obviously good at dealing with quantitative information. Wearable computers are already helping us quantify our daily activities.
  43. Feedback loopsUsing quantitative information to enable positive feedback loops is second nature to wearable computers. (Image: Nike fuel web interface)
  44. What kind of (wearable)Daemons do we want?
  45. IV. Body
  46. Prosthesis Prosthesis Enhancement, addition Enhancement, addition Some rights reserved by subsetsumProstheses aren’t just to replace missing limbs: Prescription eyeglasses are prosthesis too.
  47. remixing senses RYOTA KUWAKUBO Kuwakubo: With Silifulin, the artist explores the feeling of limbs lost to evolution (tail)
  48. remixing senses StelarcI think metaphysically, in the past, weve considered the skin as surface, as interface. The skin has been a boundary for the soul, for the self, and simultaneously, abeginning to the world. Once technology stretches and pierces the skin, the skin as a barrier is erased."-Stelarc
  49. “The Human body is obsolete”
  50. remixing senses
  51. Oscar Pistorius copyright Washington PostIn the future it won’t be unusual to see people with some kind of body modification/enhancement that surpasses our bodies’ natural abilities.
  52. TerritoriesDifferent parts of the body have specific sensations, different possibilities and meanings. Wearable computer designers need to to know this territory.
  53. TerritoriesReally close to the hand but unrestrictive, the wristwatch occupies a prime “real estate” in the human body.
  54. Pioneering aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont famously commissioned Cartier a wristwatch to make it easier to check time while piloting an airplane, at a time whenwristwatches were only seen as a fashion accessory for wealthy women.
  55. Several wearable computers (specially watches) are in or about to hit the market. Is it a fad or the beginning of something bigger?
  56. EcosystemsCurrently most wearable devices work as accessories or satellites to Smartphones. Will that change in the future?
  57. V. Language
  58. SuperpowersAs wearable computers can enhance people’s senses, we need to understand what each sense can do.
  59. RemixEyesight is the prevalent sense in contemporary culture, but other senses also offer lots of untapped possibilities...
  60. Exploiting the brain’s plasticity BrainportBrainport is a device for the blind that turns visual information into electrical pulses that can be sensed with the tongue.
  61. New ways of reading - RSVPRapid serial visual presentation is a method to serially display visual content (images, text) that could be applied to small screens (e.g. wristwatches)
  62. Networking Personal area network Body area networkWe can use the notions of personal space and territory to create new forms of networking and data transmission.
  63. BCI-BBIBrain-Computer interfaces or Brain-Brain interfaces are a long term possibility.
  64. Flexible electronicsOur skin prefers soft, flexible materials (like fabric). Technology is starting to catch up with this need.Image:
  65. Smart textiles copyright Rachel WinfieldAnother long term possibility is that computer logic, sensing and actuation can be carried out by the fabric itself without the need of external components.
  66. Wearable Computing: Uniforms, costumes or bespoke garments?What is the most ethical choice? what do we want? we need to start thinking about this.
  67. Thank you!2012 Alejandro Zamudio | Attribution Share-Alike CC BY-SA