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4. Intertwingled > 4.6. Convergence

Convergence

Of course, the ultimate convergence will happen even closer to home as the human body becomes an environment for computers. The first big step in this corporal merger is wearable computing, an area of active research at many of the world’s leading universities. Steve Mann, a pioneer in the field, has been working on WearComp for more than 20 years, with results shown in Figure 4-18. It now looks like his dedication is about to pay off. Wearable computing is disappearing into the fabric of life, becoming ubiquitous and invisible.

The evolution of Steve Mann’s wearable computer
Figure 4-18. The evolution of Steve Mann’s wearable computer

For instance, Xybernaut’s wearable computing platform is already being used by aircraft mechanics and engineers at Federal Express, Boeing, and the U.S. Department of Defense to dramatically improve mobile worker productivity. And in the consumer realm, Motorola recently announced a deal with Oakley to create wearable wireless glasses (to be used in combination with cell phones and MP3 players) and a separate venture with Burton to build Bluetooth-enabled jackets and headgear for skiers and snowboarders. Motorola’s vision is to enable “seamlessly mobile wireless communications anywhere and everywhere consumers want to be.”[*] One example from Philips is shown in Figure 4-19.


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