excerpts from ISSCC 2000 conference
ISSCC: 'Dick Tracy' watch watchers disagree
By Peter Clarke
(02/08/00, 9:12 p.m. EST)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Panelists at a Monday evening (Feb.
7) panel session at the International Solid State
Circuits Conference (ISSCC) here failed to agree on
when the public will be able to buy a "Dick Tracy"
style watch for Christmas, with estimates ranging
from almost immediately to not within the next decade.
Steve Mann, a professor at the University of Toronto,
was hailed as the father of the wearable computer and
the ISSCC's first virtual panelist, by moderator
Woodward Yang of Harvard University (Cambridge Mass.).
Not surprisingly, Mann was generally upbeat at least
about the technical possibilities of distributed body-
worn computing, showing that he had already developed
a combination wristwatch and imaging device that can
send and receive video over short distances.
Meanwhile, in the debate from the floor that followed
the panel discussion, ideas were thrown up, such as
shoes as a mobile phone -- powered by the mechanical
energy of walking, and using the Dick Tracy watch as
the user interface -- and a more distributed model
where spectacles are used to provide the visual
interface; an ear piece to provide audio; and even
clothing to provide a key-pad or display.