Wearables to Augment Senses and Intellect

Source: The Verge, Jun 2012

“Traditional computing paradigms are based on the notion that computing is the primary task,” says Mann. “Wearable computing, however, is based on the idea that computing is NOT the primary task.”

“The computer should serve to augment the intellect,
or augment the senses.”
– Mann

… Vernor Vinge’s 2006 sci-fi novel, Rainbow’s End. A kid with a wearable downloads an engineering program to scan a machine and extrapolates its function, all in a matter of seconds. He’s even able to offer suggestions to tweak the machine’s operation with his newfound computer-aided intuition.

… the origins of augmented reality. A couple of Boeing researchers created heads-up displays for engineers to overlay schematics on top of their work, reducing the distraction of double-checking a blueprint every few minutes. Despite the concept’s age, the paradigm still has an advantage over the smartphone. Something that floats in front of you is part of your senses, something you have to check and re-check is just a computer.

… make the computer more present in your life, to the point where it fades away and becomes a part of you.

A “constant” computer doesn’t require you to zone out and “compute,” but instead, by the virtue of its intimacy, it can work with the minimum amount of input and offer the minimum amount of output. A close friend, instead of a stranger.

The wearable computer was meant by its early builders to be a different kind of computer, not just a computer in a different place.

A computer interrupts you, but a wearable watches your mood, a computer needs your active attention, but a wearable is the one that’s paying attention, a computer needs direct input, but a wearable takes care of its own perceptions.

When you’re wearing a computer, you could be fully human, and then some, but when you’re using a computer, you have to reduce yourself to a set of instructions, subject to the machine’s interpretation.

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