Wearable Tech

Jul 7, 2014

Google-Glass-the-Overpriced-Wearable-TechWearable tech?

Wearable computing is the study or practice of inventing, designing, building, or using miniature body-borne computational and sensory devices. Wearable computers may be worn under, over, or in clothing, or may also be themselves clothes (i.e. “Smart Clothing” (Mann, 1996a)). (Interaction Design Foundation)

In 1981, Steve Mann designed and built a backpack-mounted 6502-based wearable multimedia computer with text, graphics, and multimedia capability, as well as video capability (cameras and other photographic systems). Mann went on to be an early and active researcher in the wearables field, especially known for his 1994 creation of the Wearable Wireless Webcam, the first example of Lifelogging

Oh yes, the wrist phone watch, the fitness trackers, that Google single lens thingy that everyone loves or hates (Project Glass), Twitter text bubbles, the Pebble, the MEMI, GoPro, and a bluetooth headset that resembles a pair of earrings, i.e. Ilya Fridman’s “The Ripple” (LATimes/Alexandra Le Tellier).

Tech on your shirt, maybe even in your shirt. Tech on your wrist, in your ear, on your ankles, in your shoes; the possibilities are endless.


The MEMI smart bracelet; photo by Mark Shafer

The MEMI smart bracelet; photo by Mark Shafer


On July 17th, Wearable Tech L.A. comes to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, bringing “together people who have inspired the creation of wearables” and where “entertainment will meet health for the latest technology.”

Steve Mann, Chief Scientist of Meta-View and “Father of Wearable Computing,” will be the featured speaker the morning that the convention opens.


Steve Mann

Steve Mann


The Art Center’s Technologist-in-Residence is Syuzi Pakhchyan and she’ll be heading “Outliers: Wearables on the Periphery.” The O’Reilly Community states:

Her designs explore and encourage ludic activities that celebrate the quirky and speculative and reflect personal experiences and cultural narratives. Syuzi has the unique ability to make the complex simple, translate learning into entertainment, and use technology as a tool to inspire creativity.

Fashioning Technology by Syuzi Pakhchyan

Fashioning Technology by Syuzi Pakhchyan


Besides a slew of talks, there will be time for start-up pitch sessions and demonstrations of Smart Footwear, Meta Pro glasses, wearable music from Avegant and Bio Beats, and even a presentation called “Everything Ingestable, Implantable.” And if you’re a track fiend, Dick Fosbury of the famous Fosbury Flop and a 1968 Olympic Gold Medal winner will be on hand during a Q&A about sports and wearables.

Wearable Tech L.A.
Thursday, July 17th, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Pasadena Civic Auditorium
Cost: $395-$695

Editor’s note: To receive a 20% discount off the ticket price, Hometown Pasadena readers may visit the Eventbrite link here and enter the promotional code FRIENDSOFWTLA.


Dita Von Teese launching the 3D-printed dress as seen on Wired.Co.UK; photo Shapeways/Flickr

Dita Von Teese launching the 3D-printed dress as seen at Wired.Co.UK; photo Shapeways/Flickr


¹Steve Mann, “An historical account of the ‘WearComp’ and ‘WearCam’ inventions developed for applications in ‘Personal Imaging,'” in The First International Symposium on Wearable Computers: Digest of Papers, IEEE Computer Society, 1997, pp. 66–73.




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