Tagwearable computing

Mindful Cyborgs: Data Exhausted

This week Chris Dancy and I celebrate the one year anniversary Mindful Cyborgs by looking back on some of the articles we talked about in the first episode, talking about the future of wearable computing, and making some predictions about the next six months.

Download and Show Notes Mindful Cyborgs: Evaporating Crowdsourced Data and a Very Special Anniversary

DARPA Temporary Tattoos Want a Tattoo That Tracks Troops’ Vitals

Temporary tattoo/sensor

From Danger Room:

In its ongoing quest to measure every aspect of U.S. troops’ physiology, the Pentagon’s esoteric research enclave wants to develop a durable, unobtrusive device that can track the body’s physical response to stress. Military scientists believe that using the device — preferably a tattoo — to track heart-rate, temperature or bio-electric response during various training situations will help them crack the code of combat fatigue.

Darpa, the same guys who are working on robot ostriches, battlefield illusions and a texting spy camera, recently requested research proposals to develop the next generation of bio-statistic devices. The solicitation, which opened last month, hopes new technologies can transcend the current paradigm of patient monitoring of needles, gels and electrodes. And advanced materials make it possible to integrate everything from the sensors to the transmitter into thumb-sized membranes that can stick to skin — like temporary tattoos.

Full Story: Wired Danger Room: Pentagon’s Mad Scientists Want a Tattoo That Tracks Troops’ Vitals

See also: Electronic Sensors Printed Directly on the Skin

This makes a lot of sense to me. I recently tried out a BodyMedia arm band, but returned it because it was a bit too big to wear day to day (it wouldn’t be bad for wearing just during workouts though). But a temporary tattoo that could track much of the same stats would solve the bulk/appearance problem without having to resort to, y’know, implants.

Wearable stuff

I’ve been thinking that wearable computing, ubicomp, and augmented reality won’t be very useful for existing computing tasks (designing, typing, book-keeping, data analysis, etc.) but will be useful in previously un-computerized jobs such as carpentry, bike messaging, and cooking. Wouldn’t it be useful for a carpenter’s goggles to calculate measurements and so forth while they worked? And wouldn’t it be nice for a cook to be able to see a recipe dangling in their field of vision instead of having to glance at a recipe? FedEx drivers or truckers would have the benefit of dash-based navigation systems, and existing GPS based handhelds would be adequate for foot-based delivery, but a bike messenger would have greater utility for a wearable navigation system.

For instance, here’s an activity that doesn’t usually involve computers: a wearable computing device for fisherpeople (via boing boing)

And by the way, here’s Microsoft’s new, ugly, always-on camera neckless:

I love the idea, but it’s even uglier than the MSN direct watch. Via 21f

New batch of interesting wearable tech

A list of interesting projects:


Recoil was inspired by dense urban environments and the micro-spaces people occupy during daily travel. Small, powerful magnets are embedded into everyday clothing, causing unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable physical connections between people and objects.


A “Strap-on” Mobile Phone. One that combines the illicit pleasure of auto- erotic stimulation with persistent fears of the harmful long-term effects of mobile devices. The finished M-STRAP will be integrated into regular garments, the first being a pair of unisex pants.

Full List: Purse Lips Square Jaw: Pretty Wearable

Wearable digital camera

HP is working on something that sounds something like Spider’s photo shades from Transmetropolitan:

Casual capture is HP’s term for a method of taking snapshots that involves a minimum of effort on the part of the photographer. Ideally, the consumer could don an always-on, wearable camera, visit an event such as a party, and afterwards find that the camera had automatically selected and cropped the most memorable images.

Researchers admit that this is probably an impossible goal, but are working on a more limited, and possibly more realistic, version of the technology. But for now, the method involves a device that would continuously record images; and when something memorable happens, the user would make an indication of some kind, by saying a word or pressing a button. The camera technology would then zoom in and, using complex pattern-recognition technology, select what appeared to be the best images, and appropriately adjust and crop them.

CNet: Taking the shutterbug out of the picture.

High-tech Implants Aren’t the Future of Body Modification

Body modification guru Shannon Larratt has written an editorial on Better Humans about implants. He argues that wearable and bio aware technologies are more practical, because implants will become obsolete quickly “a fate no self-respecting futurist ever wants to face.”

But let’s assume briefly that we have reached a point at which technology is relatively static in terms of the devices that we seek to implant. Now we have to ask the larger question: Why bother? After all, these gadgets could just as easily be wearable, with projects such as Isa Gordon and Jesse Jarrell’s Psymbiote being excellent examples.

Full Story: Better Humans: High-tech Implants Aren’t the Future of Body Modification

Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

Business 2.0 has a well written article examining eight near-future technologies that they believe will change the world:

  1. Biointeractive Materials
  2. Biofuel Production Plants
  3. Bionics
  4. Cognitronics
  5. Genotyping
  6. Combinatorial Science
  7. Molecular Manufacturing
  8. Quantum Nucleonics

They’ve got a pretty good list, but where are the anti-cancer nano-bots? Cheap solar power? Particle transmitters/teleporters?

Business 2.0: Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

Fashion Savvy Wearable Computing on the Way

Pioneer Corp has hired fashion designer Michie Sone and industrial designer Naoki Harasawa to create hip wearable computers. They’re using organic electroluminescent material the thickness of paper to integrate screens into clothing.

Taipei Times: Wearable computers about to hit the racks

(via NooFace)

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