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Introduction Wearable computing facilitates a new form of human-computer interaction comprising a small body-worn component that is always on and always ready and accessible This new computational framework differs from that of hand held devices laptop computers and personal digital assistants PDAs The always ready capability leads to a new form of synergy between human and computer characterized by long-term adaptation through constancy of user-interface A wearable computer is a computer that is intertwined into the personal space of the user controlled by the user and is always on and always accessible Most notably it is a device that is always with the user and into which the user can always enter commands and executes a set of such entered commands Unlike these other wearable devices that are not programmable the wearable computer is as re-configurable as the family desktop or corporate mainframe computer This is what sets the wearable computer apart from other wearable devices such as wristwatches regular eyeglasses and wearable radios Identification The best definitions probably given to date are those of Steve Mann Steve Mann is a self-appointed and none opposed leader in the body wearable computer field To avoid confusion and changing the meanings of Steves definitions I included them in their entirety from Steve Manns Keynote Address 1998 Constancy the computer runs continuously and is always ready to interact with the user Unlike a hand-held device laptop computer or PDA it does not need to be opened up and turned on prior to use The signal flow from human to computer and computer to human runs continuously to provide a constant user-interface Augmentation traditional computing paradigms are based on the notion that computing is the primary task Wearable computing however is based on the notion that computing is NOT the primary task The assumption of wearable computing is that the user will be doing something else at the same time as doing the computing Thus
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