Steve Mann is considered by many to be the father of wearable computing.

He got started in the 1970's, with a MOS-6502 rig which looked like 2 B&W TV's had exploded on him. In other words, he was a sodden mess of wire and steel bricks. At that time, the system could digitize (or somehow record) what he was seeing, but he had to carry around a pretty hefty spotlight to do it. Also, with the awesome computational power of a Vic-20 strapped to his body, the thing couldn't be too.. helpful to Mr. Steve. (See Fig 1... it seems to omit the lengthy pair of telescoping antennae emitting from his helmet.. Maybe those came later?) Steve might agree with me that art was the primary motivation here.

With the advent of camcorder technology, he developed an x86 based Linux jobby that was nearly invisible. With the rig hidden behind a sporty tweed smoking jacket and a pair of Stevie-Wonder-Looking glasses, the thing could see what he was seeing, hear what he was hearing, and show him gfx/sound when appropriate. (fig 2) Judging from his hairline, this model is from the early to mid 90's... More hair loss to follow. Around this time, he was also into such exotic subjects as direct neural interfaces... Like, electrodes in his brain. ....Umm... ...yeah. Cool stuff though, we must agree. This is around the time he decided to broadcast his life on the internet. Updated every 5 minutes or so, one could voyeurize Mr. Steve's life almost always. Step off, JenniCam! Stevie is the mastah!

More recently, Steve has run the MIT wearables lab, and he now has many more gadgets stuffed into his utility belt. For example, it's my understanding that if an attractive female approaches him and offers her phone number, he might have a 0.0001% chance of forgetting it. With an MPEG encoder on your person at all times, there's little chance of losing the details. (See: memory agents.) Also... and this is more informed speculation than proven fact... Picture Stevie wandering around the streets of his town: A new bank has opened with a sign reading "Free checking with 15% interest on your savings!"... and some sort of pixelized highlight appears as the speech synth says "Hey, that seems like a pretty good deal, dood!"

...but I can't find the real-looking bank pics for us anymore, so we'll have to go with a contrived vision of something he called "diminished reality"... (i.e. Steve doesn't need to see this crap.. he should move on!) (fig 3)

(fig 1)

(fig 2)

(fig 3)

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