Wearable computers

Primitve Wearable ComputerThe ability to record every moment of your life is attractive. With the shrinking of video cameras, ever growing memory capacity, and increasing capabilities of portable lightweight computers we are approaching the point where this is possible. For a memory jogger the highest resolution, and highest sound quality shouldn’t be necessary. However, the ability to capture everything seen and heard would be a minimum. Increasing field of view and range of hearing would be a beneficial augmentation. Combining these capabilities with ear phones and viewer would allow for quick playback. Missed conversations, reviewing items read, seen, or heard would be easy to review. “What did you say your name was?”, would be a phrase of the past. The location is also a must capture to put the recordings into context.

Capturing everything you see and hear would quickly lead to information overload. No one wants to relive their past moments over and over again in real time. Means of organizing and finding important events will be required. Also, relating similar experiences such as “Lunch with Jane”, to make sure you aren’t always getting stuck with the check. As much of this identification should be as automated as possible. Conversations should be automatically transcribed and made searchable. Events should be taggable at the time they are captured, or later on during review. The ability to integrate information from others, those nearby as well as far away. Such a system could serve as a personal assistant allowing for easy maintenance of schedules, notes, todo lists, etc.

Today you often see people with Bluetooth headpieces for use with their cell phone, something similar or preferably something more hearing aid sized would work for speaker and microphone. I wouldn’t mind having a pair of hearing aid like devices to amplify or mute ambient sounds, to serve as speakers for a music player, or to review audio files. For traveling having noise cancellation functionality would be a plus. Using the video playback capabilities would allow the unit to also serve as an overall entertainment system. Adding book reading capabilities would make for an even better book reading experience than the book reader we specified earlier. Of course we are still missing a good input system to handle highlighting and bookmarking pages. Such a system would likely obsolete the need for a separate cell phone.

It should be augmentable with the ability to interact with external video cameras, cameras, computers, sound systems, etc. when better feeds are available in the vicinity.

From a memory point of view, such a system is very attractive. However, it could also lead to a loss of privacy. At what point should third parties be able to gain access to your private files? How much would need to be made available to law enforcement officials and when? How do you protect your personal data so those you do not wish to share can not access? What restrictions would there be due to copyright laws? Would you have to exclude going to the movies because you wouldn’t be able to record?

How do you think being able to record your life from cradle to grave would affect your life? What are the pros and cons you see?

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