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IBM

IBM launching wearable PC 141

ari{Dal} writes "New IBM wearable PCs with eraser sized mice should be released by the end of the next year. " With viewable-equivalent 14" screens, speech-recognition software and probable cost of 2000$, I think my carry-on bags for flying just dropped by another one.
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IBM launching wearable PC

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  • Oh come on! Get real.

    • Question: Has any chick been turned off because you use a palm pilot?
    • Question: Has any chick been turned off because you wear a beeper?
    • Question: Has any chick been turned off because you wear a cell phone?

    Answer: No. If any thing they're intrigued, think you're an important person, and maybe even think you have a lot of money.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    www.nakedgirlsnextdoorwearingcomputers.com
    Sorry, it's already been registered.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yup. Given that IBM demonstrated up to 2400 BPS data transfers using the huiman body, the WHOLE group could join hands and network.

    The only questions then are:

    1) Do you form a bus or a ring?
    1a) If its a ring...who holds the token? (or tolkin if its a reading circle?)
    2) Can you wear one of these while having sex? (The Boeing wanting these for mechanics...think of the digital kamra sutra manual)

    Brings whole new ideas to 'personal networking'.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How does this work? I've got pretty good eyesight but I can't focus on something that's only 1 inch from my eye. Would it work for people who need glasses, or would they have to use contact lenses? Would reading something this close to your eye cause damage to your eyesight? The "focus" would actually be "un-focused" (compared to "normal" vision). If you "un-focus" the right amount, it will appear focused to your un-corrected eye. I played with a tv that had its screen (a tiny color LCD) mounted in a pair of sunglasses a couple of years ago. By playing with the focus, I could get a clear image without my glasses. It is the same as using binoculars (sp) without your glasses.
  • I mean, just look at the bags under the eyes of this guy [montrealgazette.com]. They must have had a lot of Penguin Mints to get those ungodly things....
  • Nobody is forcing anybody to use any new tech. If you learn to use the technology, instead of letting it use you, you'll always be much better off. If you choose to use your PDA a lot, like I do, then that's fine. Not using it is also fine, but seems a great waste of money. I have a cellphone/pager but I also have voicemail and the understanding that I'm not going to drop everything and respond to every page or call. I don't own a laptop because like you, I don't see the need, but I do own a Palm so if I choose to check the weather or movie times or area codes while I'm out, I can. I think that the solution to the information overload everybody is always talking about is discipline in using technology, not less technology.

    Also, who decided that '4 sticks of butter' was a acceptable unit of measurement? As long as we're making stuff up, I drove about the length of 5 million gummi worms to work today. What the hell?
  • The Twiddler's a popular model, made by Handykey (www.handykey.com).
  • What they don't say is what apps and or OS this would be using.

    The quote in the article is "anyone who would buy a laptop would buy one of these". That's not true in my opinion.

    I'm not saying they're cool, and I'm not saying, as an uber-geek, I won't own one. But to make a blanket statement that people who buy laptops (my sister the computer illiterate as a good example) will buy these is a bit too optimistic.

  • Ah but the important point is that you, as an individual who avoids the device, are an exception. Generally, nearly everyone wears a watch. Except you. And me.

    A convenient, stylish, and compact wearable will become everybit as ubiquitous as a watch. Indeed, it will replace the watch.

  • With a lens of course. This has been a solved problem for a long time, in other HMDs.

    However I would object to the virtual image being like a 14" monitor at "normal" distance. Since it's virtual anyway, why be so limited? It should be like an 80" screen several feet away. And I hope it's transparent, so you can see the scenery at the same time (transparent xterms with no extra programming effort, heh).
  • Hell yeah! Let's get it going.
  • The usual problem with small and valuable things: cell-phones, wallets, wearables etc. is that some one is always lurking in the nearest bush trying to steal them. And something the size of that thing at 2500$! I can imagine a pickpocket reading this article and having an orgasm.
    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • > 112 in 4 cubic feet...
    @ 2500$ a piece!

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • So when you log in to your *-acount you say your username and passwd out loud! |)


    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • >You can get the illusion of a screen being further away by having TWO screens...

    That still wont help(encreasing the differance between the apparent stereoscopic- and lenz-focus- distance just makes it worse actually). That just fools the stereoscopic depth perseption(spell?). The problem is that the eye still has to focus at a wery close range. This problem is solved by having a lenz attached direcly at the mini-screen.

    LINUX stands for: Linux Inux Nux Ux X
  • 1) Does it run Linux?
    2) Can you Beowulf some together?

    I'm truly sorry, but they need to be asked. :)
  • by Glytch ( 4881 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @04:43AM (#1650722)
    >Maybe I'm missing the point, but are we so
    >wrapped up in technology that we can't walk down
    >the street without bringing our computer with us?
    The whole point is that we now have a *choice*. Same thing with cellphones or pagers. If I don't want to be disturbed, I turn them off or leave them home. Simple.

    Years ago, in the days before itegrated circuits, if your car broke down on the highway, a hundred miles from Nowheresville, you had to wait for someone to stop and help you out. Nowadays, folks can call a tow-truck company instantly. Believe you me, that's important to someone who has to drive 160km per weekday in an 8 year old car.

    >Can we no longer survive two hours without
    >e-mail, the Net, our cellphone or Fax?
    I know I can, but constant Net access isn't important to my studies. Cellphones and daily email, however, are.

    >People are getting so addicted and dependant on
    >technology and information that I wonder where
    >family values will be in a few years.
    Warning: "Family values" speech detected. Interest level decreasing... interest level now at zero.
    Seriously, I don't think this is a problem. We'll adjust, just like we always have in the past. Have a little faith in humanity, friend. We're more adapable than we realize.

    >What about sports?
    Being a lazy couch potato, my initial reaction is to say that sports can take a flying leap up my ass. But that would be rude. So I'll say instead that sports can take a flying leap up my butt.

    >What about nature? Until we put CPU's in
    >birds, I guess birdwatching will lose it's
    >appeal. Oh I forgot, some animals _do_ have CPUs >in them.
    You just reminded me... I really want an Aibo. But not a Furby. I don't trust Furbys. They look like Gremlins. Except Furby don't have exploding gas tanks. Wow. That got offtopic fast. Need... caffeine... now...

    Truly portable computers don't really change anything. Humans have always been dependant on technology of some kind, whether it's a hunting spear or a water treatment plant. The only real difference is the degree of sophistication.

    Plus, it's just *too* cool a gadget to pass up. :)

  • I was told tonight by an HMD maker that shall remain anonymous (for a while anyway) that if he can put together a run of 1000 800x600 SVGA full color LCD based monocular HMDs, that he could get a price point of $500 per unit.

    Would any of you buy this?
  • BTW, you can check out the occasionally mobile/wireless CarlaZone [thesync.com] web cam. It uses the Nogatech mobile video kit with microcam, and a Metricom Ricochet wireless modem, on a laptop stuffed in a messenger bag.
  • Staying alert makes you look nervous and a prime target. It helps once you get mugged, but doesn't help preventing mugging.

    Showing supreme confidence by ignoring the world around you is much more likely to hold off muggers.

    Just my experience.

    Tob
  • More to the point:

    Imagine user walking down the street, or sitting in a tube trainm reading email/web/news whatever.

    The friendly neighbourhood mugger notes this non-threatening person, in a world of his/her own, wearing very expensive PC hardware, and in no position to escape or fight back.

    Can we say "target", ladies and gentlemen? I wouldn't fancy your chances of getting insurance on one of these things! :)

    Acronym
  • Why, on earth, would you want a mouse?

    If you're supplied the voice-recognition software, why can't you just *tell* it what to do? Maybe have two buttons on the system, for and , to put you into command mode ("menu bar,start email", "attention, email window"...),
    and the rest, you interact with they programs by speaking.

    Of course, then you'd have to be able to read, and you'd, why, you'd save space, not having stupid, fuzzy incomprehensible pictures, but plain words....

    mark "I hates meeces to pieces!"

    "Icon: a small, fuzzy, indistinct picture, meant to replace a perfectly clear and comprehensible word" - the Engineer's Dictionary
  • Folks, let's do it *now*, before these things come out, and become common, so that they can put warnings on the box:
    WARNING: IT IS ILLEAGAL TO USE THIS WHILE DRIVING!!!

    mark "wants a legal, 100' range, static generator, for people who can't walk and chew gum, but drive cars (BADLY) and use cellphones at the same time"
  • I can see it now. Folks wearing computers while driving to work down the interstate playing Doom....


    ~afniv
    "Man könnte froh sein, wenn die Luft so rein wäre wie das Bier"
  • > What about nature?

    Wearables give you a better opportunity to visit the Blue Room and still get work done.

    > I guess birdwatching will lose it's appeal.

    A complete bird-watching reference manual is 1" from your eye. No need to keep a journal either, since the wearable can record your observations.

    Let the assimilation begin!
  • No point to be sorry. About 2M slashdotters were going to ask them as well. I was going to ask also:
    What is the CPU?
    What is the networking?
    How about docking?
    Does it run FreeBSD, NetBSD, Open BSD?
  • There's nothing wrong with walking down the street whilst partially
    absorbed in the latest /. story.


    There is. You are going to get overrun by a bus or get your wallet stolen...

    There are still apps for these. When used with a keyboard they are much more convinent than a laptop on trains, planes or during installations.

  • by jetson123 ( 13128 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @11:11AM (#1650733)
    Aluminum used to be as expensive as gold, and soda wasn't cheap either. Making them the inexpensive mass-market products they are now required some serious innovation and deep thinking.

    Likewise, we all want our technical toys to be smaller, so "pioneers" building very expensive wearable computers don't impress me that much--they are doing what is natural. But a company that figures out how to produce them competitively and at a price I can afford, that's the real innovation to me.


  • And how are you to be able to connect it to other things? SR232? USB? IR? Bluetooth?


  • Wearable computers will not be for personal usage, or at least at first. Someone will not do their term papers, business papers, spreadsheet analysis on these machines (unless they are "docked" I guess). The beauty of the wearable computer is a person has access to information for input/output. Wearable computers will start in niche markets: Surveyors/Civil engineers in the field, mechanics working on specialized machinery, and others.
    Voice recognition is coming along well. Between using a mouse or pointer like object and voice recognition technology, a lot of input or interaction can be achieved with a computer. Enough interaction to satisfy the needs in many niche markets.
  • I really hope we can wear this PC AND plug it in a dock found everywhere.

    That is,

    • in a airplane, I would plug the PC in a slot on the seat in front of me and then work on the medium-sized (flat) screen (also mounted in the back of said seat) and the keyboard provided by the airline

    • in a hotel room, I would plug the PC on the desk and play with the hi-tech toys (VR helmet for example) (I guess that in a low-priced hotel, I would have to settle with a ms natural keyboard :)

    • when visiting my family, I would finally be able to finish Quake VIII instead of quaking from acute withdrawal symptoms.

    This would be OS/Machine-independent.
    All we would need is a standard to prevent turning this dream in a nigthmare. The basics already exist: USB, Firewire.

    But... then, we would really need true PnP OS and devices.
    Oh well, time to wake up!

    PS: I apologize for my bad english (It isn't my mother tongue)

  • >Palm Pilots are still a status symbol, but I doubt they're chick magnets. From my own experience I can assure you, they indeed are. Looking at the Contacts database right now, I can see several phone numbers of girls I have met on the train, while I was fiddling with my Pilot and them coming right up to me going all "Oooh! What's that thing?" Great conversation starter and a place to put their info, all in one small package.
  • Trying this again. I really should use the preview button....

    >Palm Pilots are still a status symbol, but I doubt they're chick magnets.

    From my own experience I can assure you, they indeed are. Looking at the Contacts database right now, I can see several phone numbers of girls I have met on the train, while I was fiddling with my Pilot and them coming right up to me going all "Oooh! What's that thing?" Great conversation starter and a place to put their info, all in one small package.
  • Don't get me wrong here, I love everybody's favorite free OS as much as the next Slashdotter, but would Linux really be the best solution for a wearable? It seems to me that BeOS would be a much better OS for a wearable system.

    Granted, you have to use a board with an Intel chipset, and the hardware support is rather limited (but much better with 4.5). It seems to me though, that the speed, stability, and ease of use of Be make it a much better choice for a wearable system, especially from an end user's standpoint. Of course, all every end user seems to want is their Windows, and their solitare, but hey, they should least have another option for an OS, and Linux seems to scare them beyond belief. Hell, sometimes Linux scares me beyond belief.

  • Gives a hole different slant to virus and worm transmition.

  • In my opinion the best two defences against mugging are staying alert to the environment around you, and knowing when and how to apply self defense moves.

    Staying alert is likely the most effective of the two. Any semi sane mugger won't attack someone who's seen them. Being oblivious to your surroundings is asking for trouble.

    I've had two people attempt to mug me. Both failed and went to the hospital if they were lucky. I'll admit I didn't stick around. At the time I had strong fast legs from running and bicycling. My self defence coach taught me to use my strengths along with common moves to break out of holds. Break hold, spin, and kick then RUN!!!

  • Hmm,

    I wear a rather strange lens combination in my spectacles: -1 in my right eye, +4 in my left. I also have astigmatism (sp?) which complicates matters.

    So how will I see this screen properly? Will the screen have to have some kind of lens attachment?

    Some posts mention direct retinal projection as a way of viewing the screen, pretty cool, huh? What would be really great is if I could build one of these into my current spectacles and not look like I've visited locutus of borg's optician...

    But being able to read /. on the walk home? V. Cool.
  • Supposicell... with the copper coloured bottom. Also available as a rumble pack.
  • IBM japan has the prototype online. Should have learnded Japanese first tho. Pictures I can understand.... ;)

    http://www.jp.ibm.com/News/leads/980912/index.ht ml
  • Think online maintenance manuals.
    Think in-the-warehouse pick-and-pull applications

    A wearable PC would be highly useful anywhere you need both technical documentation AND both hands free.
  • Maybe I'm missing the point, but are we so wrapped up in technology that we can't walk down the street without bringing our computer with us? Can we no longer survive two hours without e-mail, the Net, our cellphone or Fax?

    People are getting so addicted and dependant on technology and information that I wonder where family values will be in a few years. What about sports? What about nature? Until we put CPU's in birds, I guess birdwatching will lose it's appeal. Oh I forgot, some animals _do_ have CPUs in them.
  • Woa, stop the ballgame man! I need to check my RHAT stock!

    Seriously, i can see how it can be useful for office workers but just as the cellphone, people will take this office-bound technology and transform it into a leisure necessity.

  • Now that was a tad unnecessary..

    I personally don't have a cell or a pager because I don't like to be in contact with people. I hate the fact that somebody can just ring me up. It's frustrating. I can afford a cell phone, but I just don't want one. My palm IIIx on the other hand....
  • A little reminiscent of the ones the Dominion crews use in Star Trek DS9, don't cha think?

    Hopefully without the headaches and nausea associated with the frequency those run at. I seem to recall only cardassians and Dominion Gengineered species can use them.

    That and you'd get dizzy be seeing through the ship.

    But it would be useful to have motion recognition/pattern recognition like they use at boeing...
  • IBM will have to be careful here. A lot of the luster and the coolness factor will be lost if they even contemplate putting their recently announced ID chip in this machine.

    Trying to track me is bad enough, but trying to track me while I'm wearing my computer starts to look a lot like the movie "Enemy Of The State".

    They could drop the price to $100 and I wouldn't buy it unless I could clip that chip or install an OS that wouldn't allow the chip to function.

    Russ
  • I hope it doesn't end. I'm always happy when I see the human race going forward. With all the stupid things that go on (war, politics, spending money on stupid goverment programs), its always a nice breath of fresh air when we can become more technolized.
    I think we need to section of this earth, the dumb people who want to be un computerized and can sit around and make new laws for themselves every day and find new programs to spend their money on that will better the kids, and then the other half which are the computer people, who don't waste time on Stock markets, War, Politics.. they just sit around and get things done and enjoy their inventions. Eventually the non computer side will try to regulate the compute side, and we'll use the technology to kill them all, and end up with a race of smart people who don't do stupid human tricks.
  • "Eventually the non computer side will try to regulate the compute side, and we'll use the technology to kill them all, and end up with a race of smart people who don't do stupid human tricks. " this certainly sounds like war to me, your geek enclave better learn awful fast about war when it confronts a larger, experienced enemy.

    It will not be a war, it will be a slaughter. In wars people die on each side. In this war the techs will just destroy the stupid in one fail swoop.
  • Tech comunity includes doctors, but i still like your comments and I agree mostly with them. Most of my comments come from the fact that I'm sick of dealing with idiots at work :)
  • > There's nothing wrong with walking down the
    > street whilst partially absorbed in the latest > /. story

    Since I'm one of those tree-killers that prints out 30+ pages of /. to read while I walk(fully absorbed, not hit by bus, yet. Missed my bus, yes), this will help reduce the number of useless paper-mache sculptures in my apartment.
  • The mugger then also has to figure whether or not the geek is wearing a webcam which is being archived at his home machine...

    The muggers might not think of it until after they hear that several of their friends are on mandatory vacations because of it...

  • Three people replied in a minute with the same idea. I rest my case.
  • I don't see this product on IBM's site. Nor a press release. I'd like to get one at that price, but this is just another Wearables intro in pop media.
  • Yur. It's the unstoppable march of progress, innit? :)

    Actually I don't think the problem is so much that folks will be rather intimately integrated with "their computers", as such, but that miniaturisation will meet humanity at a compromised scale - the last thing I want to do is tank anything around the size of this full tower & 22" monitor, but if it gets smaller, it will cease to be regarded as "a computer" in the current desktop sense, and become 'an out-size organizer that happens to do computing things'.

    Me, I'd want a keyboard (I might have to look into chording keyboards at some stage, for size restriction reasons), a proper headset like the thing by Sony [video-direct.com] with integral ear-pieces, and strictly NO voice-control.
    I don't mind being a total uber-geek waddling down the street, but I do object to looking a prat. :)
  • by Matt2000 ( 29624 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @04:04AM (#1650760) Homepage
    Uhhh, from the IBM product website:

    "Our wearable computers will bring user interaction to new heights. For example, when email is received the user is automatically notified by the unit which sticks a pin in their eye."


    Hotnutz.com [hotnutz.com]
  • I wouldn't.

    But if I was some technician who needs lots of technical manuals easily and quickly, I wouldn't mind wearing this for the job. But I won't wear this thing down the street. In between, I'd probably keep it in a briefcase and walk down the street with the case.

    I may be paranoid, but would someone want to be caught with $2000 worth of equipment sticking out? It's not the bulkiness, no, but *personal safety*. Until everyone has one, walking down the street with an obviously expensive piece of gear is inviting trouble. Probably good enough to kill for.

    Soon in the news: "Person killed on the street: was reading Slashdot before death" }}:-) Or gives new meaning to "Blue Screen of Death".

  • I don't see a keyboard. How do you type things?


    You could have some sort of keyboard device in your pocket - like those things where you can produce any letter by manipulating 4 or 5 keys in different ways. Of course, to the casual observer it might look like you were engaging in a game of 'pocket billiards' - geeks' image are bad enough already!
  • Ah yes, that's the boyo. In fact on the comments page [handykey.com], about half way down, some guy from MIT raves about how useful they were for his wearable computer project. He says they can type up to 60 words a minute using this little thing...
  • > >> And just because I like computers doesn't mean I want to wear one all the time.

    > I *hate* watches but I wear one because it tells me what time it is.

    So? I haven't worn a watch since 1989, mostly because I *hate* wearing them. No pocketwatches either, thank you.

    Have I been late? Am I unaware of the time? No. In fact, if anything, I'm more conscious of the time, because I'm forced to think about it.

  • Exactly. Much like the idiots who insist on using a cell-phone while behind the wheel, I imagine the casualty rate of early adopters will be quite high.

    Anyone with one of those pieces might as well be wearing a neon sign that sez 'rob me blind'.

    Not to mention the fact that the computer itself is going to be worth $2000+ (not counting all those nifty add-on options). There's gonna be a pretty decent street value for one of those things.

    Kids will finally be able to stop robbing each other for their sneakers, and move on to some real valuable property.

    Just one more way to thin the herd, I guess.
  • I'm sure that idea will keep you warm at night in your full body cast as your bones knit.

    Video surveillance has been ubiquitous in corner stores and banks for years, and has not served as much of a deterent.

  • Unnecessary actually. IBM and others are also working on biologically-keyed authorization systems.

    Besides, an optical reader in that little headset just kinda makes sense.

  • I don't see a keyboard. How do you type things?

    Possibilities include voice input (urgh) or some kind of Grafiti-like language on a small pad.

    Decent displays look a lot easier than decent input devices.

    Paul.

  • OK everyone. Can I have your attention please? OK, I want everyone to form a circle. OK, now everyone join hands. Very good, now everyone think Beowulf. OH! Yes, very good. I think it's working.......
  • You indicate that having one of these devices will make a "geek"(TM) more anti-social. I dont think so heres why: I have a very bad memory for names. If I have one of these gadgets (and the right database program) when I meet a person at a party, then I can use this device to locate there record in my database and I will instantly know that my friend max warned me to never talk politics with this person (unless I am of his/her party) and that this person likes cats. Now I have a place to start a conversation with this individual (e.g "how is you cat?"). This device will allow users to share info about people they meet. This device stands to give geeks an edge in social setings, not the opposite.

    Also thing about the busness uses: you are at a convention and a guy walk up and says "Hi, how are you!", now you just look up his gender/haircolor/eycolor/etc and you can respond, "Bruce, how did those merger talks go?".
    Admitidly you will need time to work out a database catolog system that works for you but with practice I could probably find you in under 10 seconds. And It would look better than responding "uh, who are you?".

    And as to privacy concerns about such a database 1) I am makeing private comments in it for personal reference, so I am not going to share it with just anybody. 2) I will probably access it by name (at home) and by gender/picture (at a party) so it is not like it will be indexed by there SSN or anything.
  • I'm not sure it's all about just surfing the net while I'm walking down the street. I can think of a lot of times when I'm in a situation where I don't have my laptop and suddenly need access. PDA's don't cut it for many of these tasks (I do security support for a large telecom company), and a wearable would be perfect. Now if I can just get my IPSec client working on it...
  • The article says that you enter data through voice commands. Apparently you can also plug a keyboard in, for times when you are sitting down I guess, the same times that you would want to plug in an external monitor (which the IBM device supports). Hopefully you will also be able to use a twiddler with one of these too, which would make it much better for entering information, there are enough people walking on the street talking to themselves as it is.
  • There are several companies that already sell
    wearable computers and they are very expensive
    they start at 2500. Most have voice rec and some kind of keyboard mouse thingy.
    Hell I have been saveing my dough to build one myself. Just need $1000 for a K6 366, $250 for twiddler keyboard mouse, $800 for hi-res glasses, $75 for a 1gigHD, and depending on what motherboard I get maybe a pccard modem most come with 10/100 ethernet, USB,serial, some have video builtin.
  • I totally agree with this. "Where will it end?"

    There's nothing more satisfying when I go home than to "turn off my mind" and do what I want.

    Heck, there were even weekends in the summer when I didn't even watch television or look at my wristwatch!

    Don't get me wrong. I like computers, but things like this are going to be the end of a personalized civilization where no one will know anyone in "RL" and it will be totally online.

    Sorry, I'll keep my two 21 inch CRTs, my 22-inch tall tower case, my 16-inch tall tower case and my NeXT slab until they cease to function.

    The last time I turned on my "PDA" was a week ago to check an area code.
    Last time my pager went off was over a month ago.
    I use my cell phone to contact friends for lunch and/or drinking beer.
    I rarely use email since it's overrun with crap.
    I don't own a laptop since I don't see/have a need.

    And I will fight to the death to not have a computer the size of 4 sticks of butter on my person. If anything is the size of 4 sticks of butter it better be Land-O-Lakes Lightly Salted.

    Then again, it may be the midwestern attitude coming out of me again.

    -m
  • I admit I do have an Internet connection and I use it regularly....

    ...at work. Infrastructure and Unix environmental support deems it necessary I have a connection.

    But I'm not bashing technology. I'm bashing peoples' conceptions that it it is necessary.

    In the workplace, these devices will only be used by employers to give them an excuse to have their employees in a sort of always-at-work mode...

    I'd see someone wearing these things on their eye and not say "that's cool," but I would be left saying "Wow... how sad." No one, and I mean that, no single person needs to be that connected, 24/7/365.25.

    ...Yes... more on than they currently are with laptops, pagers, cell phones, pdas, SecurID, etc. ad nauseum. I don't know about anyone else here, but at 5pm work stops and I go home. There's also an hour break in there for lunch.

    Sorry, but I just don't understand.

    -m
  • I hope it doesn't end. I'm always happy when I see the human race going forward. With all the stupid things that go on (war, politics, spending money on stupid goverment programs), its always a nice breath of fresh air when we can become more technolized.
    I think we need to section of this earth, the dumb people who want to be un computerized and can sit around and make new laws for themselves every day and find new programs to spend their money on that will better the kids, and then the other half which are the computer people, who don't waste time on Stock markets, War, Politics.. they just sit around and get things done and enjoy their inventions. Eventually the non computer side will try to regulate the compute side, and we'll use the technology to kill them all, and end up with a race of smart people who don't do stupid human tricks.


    Uggh. Where to begin.

    Try not to think of politics as something non-geeks do to pass the time and control the world, try to think of it as hacking wetware and soft engineering to control the world. If you got a huge amount of geeks together in their own isolated enclave, eventually geeks that were better at manipulating, prodding, compelling and impelling others to fulfill their agenda would control the enclave. Eventually they would spend all their time hacking wetware and not computers, they would be politicians. The political leaders would have geek backgrounds (wasn't there a US President who was a nuclear engineer?), but they would still be politicians.

    Don't think of war as a stupid, lizard brain reflex, think of it as the tail case of a political policy. Thinking that war is stupid and shouldn't be studied tends to remove your genes from the gene pool. Besides, "Eventually the non computer side will try to regulate the compute side, and we'll use the technology to kill them all, and end up with a race of smart people who don't do stupid human tricks. " this certainly sounds like war to me, your geek enclave better learn awful fast about war when it confronts a larger, experienced enemy.

    There's always been exciting new technologies that are understood only be the geeks, it was internal combustion engines at in the 1900's, airplanes after that, radios, telephones. There has been geeks who thought they could control the world by controlling those technologies. There have been quasi-geeks who attempted to see how those technologies would influence the world, and wanted to work as an interface between geeks and the world. Does New York City get it's electricity from Con-Tesla or Con-Ed?

    Reread the Cryptonomicon and see how Randy goes from geek to quasi-geek.

    George
  • 'scue me for posting too quickly.

    Question: Has any chick been turned off because you wear a beeper?

    Yes, my wife, because it might beep anytime and ruin the moment.

    Question: Has any chick been turned off because you wear a cell phone?

    Yes my wife, because a customer might call at any time and ruin the moment.

    Though it's only a data point of one.

    George
  • Further, if you are jacked in, and have a microcam built-in, and ICQ or IM, and of course with the cellphone built in your location will be known, if anything happened to you response could be swift. The muggers would leave you alone.

    I'm curious, have you ever called the police? The last time I called 911, about midnight, after coming home and finding our house burgled but not knowing if the burglar was still inside, it took them about 20 minutes to arrive.

    This also assumes that the muggers are acting rational and have done a risk analysis on how long it takes for a gargoyle to summon police versus how quickly they can run/bike away.

    What you really need to do is hook up an EKG to the serial port, so if you get shot or stabbed, the ambulance gets paged, and if you don't get a response in 3 minutes, the coroner's office gets paged.

    George
  • It will not be a war, it will be a slaughter. In wars people die on each side. In this war the techs will just destroy the stupid in one fail swoop.

    Three years later the tech society was destroyed by a plague caused by an unsanitized telephone handset.

    George
  • I stoled my last one from Douglas Adams, don't tell him.

    George
  • I'm not a chick, but I live with a few.

    I've had to do the cell phone/beeper thing as part of my job, and when I see someone with one I pity them.

    A beeper hasn't been a status symbol for 10 years. The only reason I would carry one now would be if I wanted to trigger my disconnect one to get out of a social situation.

    A cell phone hasn't been a status symbol for 5 years. To me, it's just a sign that you're a lackey and the man has you on a very short leash. A geek might be impressed by an Iridium phone, but a non-geek would think you have a very old cell phone and can't afford a spiffy tiny one.

    Palm Pilots are still a status symbol, but I doubt they're chick magnets.

    If you must have a chick magnet status symbol, go for the old, reliable penis compensator, I mean Porsche.

    George
  • by georgeha ( 43752 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @04:10AM (#1650783) Homepage
    Think how many hotties are going to be turned off by someone constantly wearing one of these, even if you explain how you have the entire illustrated Kama Sutra available, as well as links to four different chat rooms where you can ask real time advice when having sex.

    A-and even if a computer wearing geek gets a hottie in bed, what happens when you get a BSOD?

    "That felt good, why did you stop?"
    "My OS crashed, I don't know what to do next."

    And soon enough, we'll have web pages like www.nakedgirlsnextdoorwearingcomputers.com .

    I kind of agree with Stephenson here, people who end up using these things constantly and in social environments are going to be rude, boring and shunned, gargoyles indeed.

    Count me out of society based on wearables, if you please. Just because I can change a tire doesn't mean I'm going to walk around with a jack hanging from my belt, just because I like music doesn't mean I always have a walkman/discman on, and just because I like computers doesn't mean I want to wear one all the time.

    George
  • by First Person ( 51018 ) on Wednesday September 29, 1999 @04:08AM (#1650784)

    If you're a wearable computing fan, you're probably thinking: "So what?"

    I completely agree that IBM producing a wearable unit without any major technical innovation is largly duplicating the work of other companies. The difference is that this legitimizes the industry in the minds of many industry executives and normal users. Just as the news that Microsoft has heavily invested in some obscure technology sparks curiosity, the IBM announcement, like the IBM version of the Palm Pilot, will get wearables in to many corporate settings through the front door.

    I personally have concerns about the social effects of wearables. Just as I don't carry a pager or cell phone, I'm not sure that I want the office constantly projected on a monitor centimeters from my eyes. I certainly don't want an employer requiring that I do so. But, I do want a wearable for personal use.

    I'm glad to see IBM getting involved. This should attract considerable publicity and spur competition in the wearable market.

  • Maybe they are in ties with Transmeta making this pc be able to interact with any other pc by using a co-processor type thing, talked about in the Transmeta discussion, emulate processors and make things work even if the processors aren't compatable. Never know. Sounds like it could work.
  • Browsing through search matches on IBM's website, I came across this fascinating paper [ibm.com] from the MIT Media Lab [mit.edu] which discusses powering a wearable computer by body heat, breath, blood pressure, upper limb motion, walking, and finger motion. If IBM would just incorporate one of these technologies and a wireless LAN connection into their wearable PC, I'd never have to "plug-in" again! :)

    Of course, this reminds me of a fake advertisement in a 1984-vintage computer magazine for the Micro Man-Frame. It featured Direct Retinal Graphics (DRG), an integrated keyboard (strapped to the guy's waist), and an easily stored battery back (don't ask.) Does anyone remember this?

  • (The above being a reference to Snow Crash.)

    I must say, this is awfully cool. What's more, it's cheap. For $2000, you can bet I'll get one. It's probably useless; but I'll feel like the Uber-Geek with this baby on!

    I can already hear the arguments...

    Woman: "And then I told her, listen, bitch, blah blah blah blah blah..."

    Man: "Uh huh. Uh huh."

    Woman: "Hey. You're not listening!"

    Man: "Sure, hon. Whatever you say."

    Woman: "You're playing bloody Solitaire again, are you??"

    Man (shocked): "What? Of course not!" Aparte: "All I need is a black king..."


    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • Voice control is the best thing that IBM can come up with? That's pretty sad. Anyone who has used today's voice recognition software knows that it pretty much sucks. You have to speak very slowly and very clearly in order to get it to understand you. IBM has to know that this speech recognition will not work for your average geek walking down the street - there's simply too much other noise.

    The best input device, IMO, is a full-size 101-key IBM keyboard. (104-key KBs suck!) Of course, this is not an option for a portable computer, so IBM had to come up with something else. The Twiddler keyboard looks like it wouldn't be bad, but I've never tried it. I think that for this application, the best input system would be a touch-sensor tablet that's connected (both physically and informationally) through a high-speed serial connection and uses handwriting recognition for inputting characters.

    Just my 2 cents.

    -Ender
  • One of the problems with wearable PCs is not just the bulk, but the methods for providing a monitor of some sort.

    From the picture shown in the article, looks like they've taken up with a small display rig that wraps around the side. A little reminiscent of the ones the Dominion crews use in Star Trek DS9, don't cha think?

    Definitely cool.
  • 2) Can you Beowulf some together?


    I was going to ask that! >:)

    Lessee... Say an inch tall and 5 inches wide by 6 inches long... 30 cubic inches... 24 and change per cubic foot, call it 28 if 4 are placed vertically in the empty space... So 56 in 2 cubic feet... 112 in 4 cubic feet... Mmmm.... Fill a room with them, that's a lot of processing power for the size. >:)

    Kintanon
  • Quoth the article,

    The monitor, about half the size of a pen cap, sits about an inch from the eye, giving the user the illusion of reading a 14-inch screen at normal viewing distances.

    How does this work? I've got pretty good eyesight but I can't focus on something that's only 1 inch from my eye. Would it work for people who need glasses, or would they have to use contact lenses? Would reading something this close to your eye cause damage to your eyesight?

    HH


  • How does this work? I've got pretty good eyesight but I can't focus on something that's only 1 inch from my eye. Would it work for people who need glasses, or would they have to use contact lenses? Would reading something this close to your eye cause damage to your eyesight?


    You can get the illusion of a screen being further away by having TWO screens (one in front of each eye) - the picture from the story looked like it only had ONE screen though ...
  • Solitaire is the first thing this will be used for.

    And when we get head installed systems Solitaire will also be the first thing this will be used for.
  • "And I will fight to the death to not have a computer the size of 4 sticks of butter on my person. If anything is the size of 4 sticks of butter it better be Land-O-Lakes Lightly Salted. "

    Finally, someone who noticed this absurd unit of measure. What the hell did this writer do? "Well, I've got this new piece of technology designed to let me compute anywhere...question is, is it more portable than the PDA I'm using that's made of butter right now?" Would a clone of this be I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-IBM?

    Just what the hell was this guy thinking?
  • Ok. I'm tired of hearing about Media Lab and Xybernaut.

    Check out Carnege Mellon's Institute for Complex engineering Systems. They've been doing the wearables [cmu.edu] for as long as anyone else.

    I did a lot of undergrad work for this group, and their projects are as good/better than the stuff coming out of Media Lab, you just don't hear about it. Their wearable for speech translation currently translates between english, croatian, french and I believe one of the oriental languages (?). Pretty interesting stuff.
  • IBM is just flaunting their ViaVoice technology again. They just had to build a wearable computer to accomplish this.

    Take a look at other input devices such as the Twiddler, which fits around the palm of your hand and simulates a full-sized keyboard through simultaneous combinations of 4 (or 5?) keystrokes.

    Then again, it'd be a lot easier if it'd just read your mind...

  • You bash technology, but you're still checking Slashdot, suggesting that you 1) have an internet connection, and 2) use it regularly. Ironic, no?

    Tools shouldn't be used for the sake of using tools. But they shouldn't be avoided because they're new either. That's the sort of mentality that left people saying "my 1200 baud modem works fast enough for me..."

    If a given instrument can help solve a problem faster, why shouldn't you use it?

    Some of these things may just be toys too. I sat next to a guy on an airplane who used a PII 400mhz laptop with a 15" screen to play solitaire. But if technology has potential value, it will quickly be adapted to meet the needs of the workplace.
  • In other words, it focuses for you...
  • It may be a bit bulky, but it's still important. Once a major company introduces a product onto the market, other companies will try and refine the concept in order to steal some of the action. So it's a matter of time before someone ups the ante by slimming it down, turning up the power, and using the body to network wireless components (CPU in shoes, HD in wallet,)

    [drool, drool....]
  • I see a lot of comments alluding to Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and I see 0 comments relating IBM's new "innovation" to William Gibson's Virtual Light. In fact, I'm rather disappointed by that. What I would like to see in a portable computer is fusing of miniturized camera technology *AND* miniturized computer technology. Put a pair of very small digital cameras on the goggles and the interior of the goggles can have a screen for each eye. The camera can broadcast the view of the room around you as the background, and overlay your text, graphics, favorite tv channels, etc) onto the image you're recieving from your environment.

    As far as input devices, how about a glove with sensors in the fingertips? When you push a button on the back of the glove, a "virtual keyboard" could pop up in your vision and you could "type" on it just like a real keyboard. Maybe even with little pressure pads in the tips of the gloves' fingers, so that when you make "contact" with a key, the pad presses lightly back against you.


    Having a computer effectively attached to your retina would make for super-keen LSD trips, too!


  • There is "Speech" and "Commmand".

    Granted Speech while a lot better then it once was still has a way to go. It's takes some training but after that it flies along.

    My Uncle uses Via Voice because he can't type fast enough, and I've watched him use it and it's pretty impressive. When I sit down to it I get "Purple monkey dishwasher" statements in my sentances. :)

    Command Recog on the other hand is a heck of a lot better. Check out Game Commander [gamecommander.com]. This has to be one of the best I've seen so far. I use this with Tribes [planet-tribes.com] which has 50-60 key combinations all preprogrammed into it, so for example I just say "Eject!" and game screams "Hit the Deck!" and ejects me out of the ship I'm flying or I say "Preload one" when I'm in an Inv Station and it loads up set one favorites then kicks me out of the inv station.

    The level of training this required was 0%

    But... voice while is all fine and dandy is no good if you get background noise.

    As a new input device I would like to see something different then the norm.

    How about a squeezy ball that can be used to feedback mouse/keyboard input? Would keep the RSA away (least in the hand :)

  • IMHO.. met the chap, most boring hour of my life. Neal Stevenson is much better.

  • But it could save your butt!!!
    Have an audio recorder running, and rewind it 10 seconds - perfect recall, instantly!!!

    And if you mount a webcam, you can relive your lurching way home from the pub and never have to wonder how you got home the next morning...:)

  • This is a "forward looking" situation. I agree not many are going to buy one of these now, but the devices aren't going to remain static. I believe the context the article was written in was "these are the future". But when is that?

    I would dare to say "anyone who would buy a cell-phone would buy one of these" (eventually is an unspoken)

  • The only thing keeping me from cyborging is the cost. HUD-style displays are expensive, tiny motherboards are too, and trying to find a way to power the whole thing is generally too much roll-your-own for my taste. (Dammit Jim, I'm a programmer, not an electrical engineer!) I don't even want to think about input devices; as cool as The Twiddler is, it's expensive. Add it all up together, and you're in the same range as the cheaper pre-built wearables which are STILL expensive.

    $2500 for a complete system, however, is starting to sound good. It's about the price of a nice laptop, and I think the market has indicated that it's about the price people are willing to pay for a nice laptop. I doubt they'll sell lots of them, and the ones they do sell will be to very niche markets (Mobile techs and maintenaince people, companies like Boeing who want to have their workers able to do stuff like pull up schematics while waist-deep in the wing of a 777, geeks who want wearables, etc.) but at that price, I'm sure they will sell some.

    Also, with IBM's recent commitments to Linux and open-source in general, I'll bet they'll make sure it will run either Windows or Linux. They do have their ViaVoice speech API available for Linux, at least in beta form, so I can see them easily building a special distro that includes their ViaVoice for Linux for these things.

    Now if they'll stick a wireless ethernet on it, I'll pull out the checkbook and pre-order today!

    -=-=-=-=-

  • I hope they get Jerry Ryan to model this device. Oh please assimilate me 7, I won't resist.
  • As any consumer would buy a laptop, they'll buy a wearable computer.

    There's lots of ways to interpret this; another is that he's saying "Since anybody would buy a laptop, anybody would buy a wearable."

    I read it as saying "In the same manner as you would buy a laptop, you'll be able to buy one of these." IOW, you go to your local big-box, say "I want that one!" and take it home. You don't have to "be someone", or be in the right place at the right time, to get your hands on one.

The only difference between a car salesman and a computer salesman is that the car salesman knows he's lying.

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