excerpts from ISSCC 2000 conference

ISSCC: 'Dick Tracy' watch watchers disagree

By Peter Clarke
EE Times
(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.