Wearables in 2005

An article I wrote for the Wearable Computing column of IEEE Pervasive Computing magazine just came out, and highlights some of the projects at last year’s ISWC conference. Here’s the intro:

Wearables in 2005
Bradley Rhodes and Kenji Mase

In July 1996, one year before the first International Symposium on Wearable Computers, DARPA sponsored a workshop entitled “Wearables in 2005” (www.darpa.mil/MTO/Displays/Wear2005). Attendees predicted how wearable computers might be used in 2005 and identified key technology gaps that needed to be filled to make their vision a reality. In October 2005, the 9th Annual International Symposium on Wearable Computing was held in Osaka, Japan, the first to be held in Asia. Participants presented a wide range of research from both industry and academia, spanning 13 countries and weaving together such diverse fields as interface design, hardware and systems, gesture and pattern recognition, textiles, augmented reality, and clothing design.1 Many of the themes would have sounded familiar in 1996, with continuing improvements in ergonomics and power management as well as gesture recognition and augmented reality.

As you would hope, the field has also developed in new directions in the past decade, with a much greater emphasis on large-scale recording and annotation of everyday activities, on the science and engineering of clothing design, and on performing thorough quantitative evaluations of potential input devices. We have also seen a large increase in the use of accelerometers, smart phones, and RFID readers as researchers leverage continuing drops in cost and size in the consumer electronics world.

As the largest primary conference for wearables researchers, ISWC provides a good snapshot of the state of the field. So, with the benefit of hindsight, here are some highlights of how wearables research actually looked in 2005.

The IEEE copy is here, and I’ve also got an HTML copy on my publications page.